my partner and I both work from home … and we’re moving in together

It’s the Thursday “ask the readers” question. A reader writes:

My partner and I are planning to move in together. We both work full time M-F. I currently work from home about three days per week, but that is mostly optional. I am required to come into the office one day per week and can come in as much or as little as I like on top of that. My partner works from home almost full-time and only goes into their office 1-2 times per month by choice.

The flat we have found has two bedrooms, one of which will function as a study, and a separate living room with a dining table in it.

Technically we can continue to work from home in our current pattern, in separate rooms, without having to interrupt each other during the work day. (My partner currently works from a dining table and is happy to continue doing so, while I can take the study with a desk.) We can make cups of tea or food in the kitchen and return to our separate working spaces without worrying about the kettle disrupting the other, etc.

But should we be considering working from the office more on different days? Would working from home in a smallish two-bedroom flat feel like we’re on top of one another, when we currently both live alone? Obviously we will be able to adjust as we see fit going forward, but I’d be Interested to know what others’ experiences have been and any tips!

Readers, especially people who have been working from home with others who are using the space too (roommates, partners, whoever), share your thoughts in the comments.

{ 364 comments… read them below }

  1. Justin*

    When we’re both home (which is a couple days a week), I work in the bedroom (where there is a desk) and she works from the living room (at a table). It works for us. But test out a few things until you find your rhythm.

      1. CH*

        I agree – why not test it out for a while and see how you both are feeling? It sounds like you have a good set up at home, but if you do feel like you’re on top of each other, could you figure out a plan to minimize the days you’re both working from home?

      2. JustAnotherCommenter*

        +1
        My partner and I are in a small-ish 2 bedroom apartment in Toronto and we have no issues. We don’t have enough room for a dining table so one of us gets the desk, one of us works from the couch and we rotate out use of the home office based on need (If someone has a lot of meetings, or needs a proper desk, needs to use the second monitor etc.) I just recommend giving your partner a heads up about when you have meetings so they know to be quiet during that time.

        Full disclosure, I met my partner at my former workplace and over the course of our 6-year relationship we’ve only ever worked in separate spaces for the 5 months leading up to the pandemic, so we’re used to keeping it professional* in the same physical space. So many people say “oh I could never do that!” but I genuinely think it’s doable, even in small spaces, for most people as long as you’re mindful of your needs and your partner’s needs, just as you should be in any healthy relationship.

        *One of my personal claims to fame about keeping a relationship profesh in the office is that at our old office when I was casually chatting with a coworker I was friendly with about weekend plans I mentioned that he was moving in with me and she was so confused for a solid 10 minutes into the conversation as to why I would want a roommate that I worked with. She had no idea we were dating and she sat right beside us lol.

    1. Artemesia*

      When we had a one bedroom and needed two work spaces, we turned our bedroom into his office. Bedrooms are sort of wasted space during the day and so make for good private space.

      I was working less and used the dining table while he used the more private bedroom for his long days.

      Since you have a two bedroom place, I would arrange a good workspace in each bedroom so you have maximum separation and can ignore each other during the day except when you emerge for lunch or coffee or whatever. If possible keep the public space clear of work except maybe the occasional wander with laptop. When home is work and home is also life — being able to divide up the space really helps so everything is not shouting work.

      If working in the office or a coffee shop is occasionally possible, I would schedule it so you are out of the apartment at different times. And would also think about your personal schedules and time together. How can you draw a line with work and focus on personal life so work is not just a constant ever present drip on your soul. Something as simple as the french ‘apero’ — cocktails and snacks on a Friday evening to draw a line with the work week. Or you always go out to dinner on Wednesday nights. And make plans for something social every Saturday night with friends. etc etc.

      When work and home blur, being very intentional about turning off work and focusing on couples or individual pursuits can make your life a lot better. Even work hours are long; find ways to draw a line and switch focus.

      1. Alex*

        Yeah. Maybe this speaks to my privacy-loving ways, but when my ex and I lived together we had a two-bedroom where each of us took one bedroom. Obviously we spent a lot of time together but as introverts it gave us lots of recharge space. I was working from home and he was in school at the time so both of us had “offices” in the bedrooms.

        1. Koalafied*

          My ex and I did a very similar thing. We each had a room of our own, but we kept our beds in my room and the bookshelves, workspace, and musical instruments in his room. We each had our own desk, dresser, and TV in our own rooms and full ownership of our own closets, and each of us had 100% control over the decor and furnishings in our own room. The rooms had a door connecting them directly, which we took off the hinges, so it was sometimes a “two-room suite” when doing shared activities in one room like sleeping or making music or DIYing something, but the rest of the time we kept to our own rooms if we weren’t actively spending time together.

          1. Alex*

            This is an ideal, and very similar to what we did! If I live with a partner again, I am definitely keeping this system.

            1. Free Meerkats*

              I’ve decided that the ideal couple living situation for me would be a ranch-style tri-plex with connecting, lockable doors. The center unit is shared and each partner has their own complete living space at each end.

              For some reason, my spouse disagrees. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

              1. Properlike*

                I don’t even need the separate center unit. A shared duplex with connecting, lockable doors is enough and may already be part of my retirement plan.

        2. Cmdrshpard*

          I will say depending on the layout if the two bedrooms share a wall that might be worse noise wise than one person in a bedroom and one person in the living room.
          This was the setup at an apt my partner and I shared, each of us working in the bedroom would have led to more noise interference during calls die to a shared wall.

          The setup that worked for us was they were in one bedroom and I was in the living room. My setup was that I had a wall right behind me so it was impossible for anyone to be behind me and used our regular tv as one of the monitors.

          Working in a communal space i used two tv trays as my desk and would out them away each day. A folding desk bolted into a wall might work.

          It really depends on the specific layout.

        3. Anonnikins*

          My husband and I started sleeping in separate bedrooms because our sleep disorders required it, but it works for the same reason yours did- we are both introverts that need the recharge space and alone time. Especially because we live in a large house with a couple of roommates- without separate bedrooms, we really wouldn’t have that private space for the alone time we need.

      2. BugHuntress*

        I’m proud of our setup! My partner’s bedroom is my office, and my bedroom is his office.*

        Every morning, after waking up, I tidy up my bedroom a bit (because it’s his office) and then I “commute” to his bedroom (which has been tidied up for me). At the end of the day, I turn the room back into his bedroom, and he and I swap spaces – and I get to go back to a nice, clean bedroom and decompress.

        Being able to work in a different place than I sleep is good for me! The smells, the sights, all help me to decompress. I’ve filled my bedroom with mood lighting, and it all gets turned on when the sun sets and I “commute back home”.

        *We are Terrible Sleepers, and sleeping in separate bedrooms is a Very Good Thing for our relationship. ;)

        1. allathian*

          Yeah, I’m a restless sleeper and my husband snores. I’m utterly convinced that separate bedrooms saved our marriage.

      3. Amber T*

        To the extent you can have separate closed off work spaces that don’t include “public” spaces, I’d go with that. Pre-COVID, my partner and I had our computers set up in the guest room and shared a space, but at that point, working from home was extremely rare – we just played computer games together. Once COVID hit and we were working from home all the time, we couldn’t share a space, not with the sensitive work info we both handle, or the calls we’d need to take.

        He ended up taking over the dining room, and for about a year (until we moved), that was his space. At first, he tried to clear it off every evening so we could sit and eat there, but after a while, it became “why bother?” At that point, we both had the mentality that WFH was temporary and we’d both eventually be going back to the office full time, so who cares if we didn’t have a dining room for a couple months? Not like we were having visitors anyway.

        So unless you both are incredibly tidy people who have everything in order all the time, I wouldn’t recommend having a work station in a living/dining room – at some point, especially if you both work from home more often than not, it’s going to cease being a living or dining room and become an office that you occasionally hang out or have dinner in. If possible, set up a permanent work station for one of you in the main bedroom.

        1. Lace*

          This is exactly the issue we ran into. We ended up moving to a larger home with separate office areas for each of us to accommodate our schedules and need for space.

          Working remotely has always been our world, but we definitely noticed our common work space being too small when I couldn’t disappear to a coffee shop for a few hours if I needed.

      4. ToniLeeJordana*

        I agree with everything Artemesia says here. My partner and I have done this for 7 years now, and the first 2 or 3 were easy. Now, not so much. My husband talks a lot, in meetings or on the phone. I need to concentrate more than he does. Things that help are:

        One day each out of the house per week, on different days. For me, this can be in a cafe or library. My husband sometimes has meetings out, so he tries to schedule these on the same day so he’s out for the whole day. Even things like dental appoints, day time gym etc can help. We haven’t had to resort to hiring a desk in a co-working space yet, but it’s not off the table.

        A huge ‘yes’ to Friday apero: we do this religiously and it really helps. Sometimes we invite other home-workers, and sometimes it’s just us. I try to dress a little better on apero days and we schedule it like an appointment: the computer switches off at 5pm. It’s a convivial wind-down where we can discuss our weeks like co-workers at a set time, rather than having it bleed into the weekend. We will also go out for coffee once or twice a week. It’s counterintuitive, because you would expect that spending more time together would make things worse, but I find it acts to relieve pressure and remind us both that the relationship comes first and work comes second.

        The most important thing is to have a non-defensive attitude. Please accept going in that sometimes you are going to annoy the shit out of each other. That’s a given. So don’t take it personally. My husband is fab at this. I can say, ‘Babe, you’re super loud today. Is there anything you can do about it?’ and he’ll be very cool and try to fix it. I don’t annoy him so much (note: not because I’m not annoying, because I am. My work provides less scope for annoyance, that’s all.)

        And I have great noise-cancelling headphones.

        Good luck!

      5. Director of Alpaca Exams*

        Another vote here for separate bedroom-offices. My family’s been WFH through the pandemic and this setup has been essential for us.

        DO NOT work at your dining table. It’s an ergonomic disaster. Set up a real desk with a good chair, or a standing desk with a good stool, and make sure your keyboard is at the right height for your arms. Dining tables and chairs are not suitable for this and you will mess your body up pretty quickly working that way. (Signed, my herniated disc.)

    2. Librar**

      I agree with the advice for testing things out to find a rhythm. My spouse and I got married and moved in together during the pandemic and originally started off with 2 desks in our home office (we have a 2 bdrm apt). Every morning we would compare schedules, and decide who would move to the dining room temporarily when we had meetings simultaneously. It was the worst idea ever. Just writing it out, I’m so confused why we ever thought that would work.
      A few months after we got married, I started going back to the office 3 half days a week (I now go in 4 full days/week and that is my permanent schedule). Around the same time, my spouse’s company told them that they would never be required to return to the office. After this, we moved my desk in to the dining room since I had less need for a dedicated home work space.
      Recently, my spouse decided to work from his company’s office on the 1 day/week that I work from home. This has been the single greatest decision either of us could have ever made. I get a whole work day with the apartment to myself, which feels like a huge sigh of relief, even though I’m working the entire time. They get a day to interact with colleagues and rebuild some friendships that had fallen by the wayside. On that day each week, I finish the workday feeling peaceful and restored, and they arrive home happily exhausted with their social cup full.
      If you’ve never lived with a significant other before, pay close attention to how much alone time you need in your home. I find it very different from living with roommates, since roommates’ lives are less likely to involve my participation as frequently as a spouses’ life does. Since going to the office is an option for both of you, I’d recommend keeping it in your back pocket, so to speak, as a way of getting each other more time alone at home when and if it’s needed.

      1. Director of Alpaca Exams*

        Even a very small room can be set up with a work space. My partner’s room is so small that they only have a twin bed, but that makes enough room for a shallow desk and a good office chair.

    3. Margaery Tyrell*

      The separate spaces are key. I don’t live with a partner but I do live with roommates who often WFH (I’m pretty much full-time remote). They usually work out of their rooms (and I do too), although sometimes I migrate to the living room (which has a door I can close) or one works in the kitchen on the dining table. Basically I think it’s good to have the separation of spaces and trying to be as mindful of noise as possible — make sure to clear up with him that someone doesn’t need to be interrupted for trivial things (“do you want a cup of tea?”) or something when you’re in an important meeting.

  2. RaeofSunshine*

    Consider it a work in progress – maybe set intentional time to meet and discuss how your work situation/agreement is going (separate from any living together/cohabitating discussions). Anything you do this week can be modified or changed next week, and you’ll figure out boundaries and what you both appreciate or hate pretty quickly.
    Make plans, but be flexible as things change.

    1. Putting the "pro" in "procrastinate"*

      Yes, I think this is a good suggestion. OP, there is no way to answer your question in advance, and no way anyone else can answer it for you. My partner and I do just fine working at home in separate rooms. Other people have been driven crazy by it. I am content to work at the dining room table a couple of days a week, but I wouldn’t want to do it more than that — my back and arms start to hurt. Someone else, or someone at a different table, might not have this issue at all. There is simply no way to know what arrangement will work for you two particular people in your particular space without trying something for a while, and being open to adjusting as necessary or experimenting with different arrangements down the road.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        If you had asked me in March 2020 how long I could work at the dining room table, I would have said “indefinitely.” By May or June, however, I realized it was actually not ergonomic at all and was causing a lot of pain.

        1. NervousHoolelya*

          I found that switching to an actual ergonomic desk chair at the dining room table made a huge difference in my comfort level for…well, too many months. If that’s an option, I would highly recommend it. In fact, I kind of regret that we put the desk chair back at the actual desk. (My partner and I had two desks in the same home office, because before the pandemic, the times when we needed to use those desks almost never overlapped. He used to WFH sometimes even in the before times, and I work in higher education, so I was mostly using the desk for late-night grading and class prep. That situation became unworkable when we both needed to be logged in all day every day.)

        2. Amber T*

          My partner also worked from the dining room table for a while… once we all figured out WFH was not going to be for only a couple of things, his company set up scheduled times where you could go in and take anything from your desk you needed, including chairs. We had a lime green office chair alongside our plain wooden dining ones for a while.

        3. Ellie*

          I share a large house with my partner, and we’ve been working from home for almost 2 years now. I love working from the dining table! I prefer it to the office, although we switch it around since the office is better for confidential conversations. I love it mostly because I can walk around and put on a load of washing, or grab a snack more easily, whereas when I’m in the dedicated office, I almost feel like I should be chained to my desk, even thought there is nobody in it but me.

      2. KateM*

        My husband and I are working from home in the SAME room and are mostly just fine… but well, 1) we can play somewhat with our times to make sure that while one is doing something that requires Zoom, the other is in living room keeping the kids away, but mostly we are just chugging away at our work each at their own pace, and 2) what with 20y of marriage and 4 kids, we are probably used to living “on top of each other”.

    2. ThatGirl*

      I would agree with this. It’s hard to say how things will go until you actually DO it, so be willing to communicate and modify things as you go.

      My husband and I made it work in 2020 when we both had to WFH, and we didn’t really get on each others’ nerves, but it was definitely still a logistical challenge at times in terms of taking meetings and making space. Of course, we didn’t have any sort of set office/study space, so that will help. But even so, just be prepared to adjust and be flexible until you get it figured out.

      1. Read and Find Out*

        Completely agree. We both worked from home full time from March 2020-July 2021. We turned our guest room into an office for my partner, and I worked from my desk in our dining room/library area. It mostly worked in terms of space but we found ourselves distracting each other a lot. So we had to set up some ground rules about interrupting each other during the day. Each evening we’d go over our schedules for the next day so we knew when our meetings were, which helped a lot in making sure that we didn’t interrupt each other at inopportune times.

        So I think the ‘try it and check in on regularly on how its going’ is the way to go.

      1. Dust Bunny*

        Can you practice by working from a shared home (yours or your partner’s current residence) for a week to see how it feels?

    3. Voodoo Priestess*

      This. Be flexible and communicate. Make sure you set a routine and talk about it when you’re getting started. Some things that sound OK turn out to not work at all. When my partner and I are both home, we talk the night before or over breakfast about schedules so we know when the other person has critical meetings or calls to avoid noises, movement, etc. Pre-planning is a must if you both have the need to be on calls/videos.

      I would think that you would both appreciate planning your in-office days separately, that way you get a little time in your flat alone. I can’t say this enough: be flexible and communicate. A little grace goes a long way.

    4. Red Lantern*

      Agreed on this. My partner and I have been successfully working from home and living together for a little over a year. We have a similar setup as OP with 2 bedrooms but 1 converted into an office. At first I was happy to work in our open kitchen/living area and for him to work in the office, as his job was completely remote regardless of the pandemic while my work was eventually planning to resume in-person. After a few months of that, I realized that working in the same area of the apartment that we spent most of our evenings in was driving me bananas. This was last winter pre-vaccine, and looking at the same walls 14 hours a day was making me depressed. When I brought it up, my partner immediately suggested that we alternate days in the office and common area. It made a HUGE difference in my mentality.

      Every person and every couple is different, and nobody can predict what will work best for you. But communication is key!

      1. Erin C.*

        Agreed! I live alone, but for awhile my desk was in the same room I spent most of my down time, and it made me a little stir crazy.

      2. RedditBot Gone Rogue*

        Every couple is different! 100% the key here. My partner and I have spent the past almost 2 years working at opposite ends of the dining room table, moving one or the other when calls overlap. We love it, and are both committed to remote work going forward. We work in totally different industries and (within reason/data security) bounce ideas off each other, vent, and celebrate together.

        Both of us are good about when work is done, its DONE, so it does not intrude on personal time. We also take breaks to walk the dogs and work out during the day, so not on top of each other all of the time. We have found that a quick “Hey, what’s your day look like?” in the morning is really helpful too.

    5. KHB*

      This is a nice sentiment – but if the conclusion from the “intentional time” is that the two-bedroom flat just isn’t actually enough space to serve as living and working space for two people, and they need to move to someplace bigger, then they have to move twice, and moving is a pain in the backside. So I think they’re doing the right thing by asking for advice beforehand on how it’s likely to go.

      1. ThatGirl*

        That’s not necessarily true, though – OP has an office they can go in to more regularly if needed, and the partner also has that as an at least occasional option. It’s not bad to ask for advice, but it really is hard to know for sure how things will go until you actually do it.

        1. KHB*

          They may encounter challenges that aren’t completely solved by OP returning to the office. The partner is working almost-full-time from the dining table, which likely means that part of the dining space will be taken up with work stuff, and OP may find that living in a space like that doesn’t work for her.

          It’s very true – as OP acknowledges – that they can’t be 100% sure how things will work for them until they do it, but “just make adjustments later if you need to” doesn’t always work as the entire solution, because not all adjustments are painless.

          1. ThatGirl*

            But one possible adjustment to THAT is that partner takes over the office space, and OP works at the table if/when need.

            No, not all adjustments are painless. It’s good to think things through for sure. I think the overarching point, though, is that not a single one of the commentariat can predict exactly how it will go. The couple in question can talk through some things, think through potential scenarios, and go from there — but even with that, it’s still impossible to predict every little thing.

    6. AY*

      I definitely recommend reconvening after a few weeks/months to reassess the actual physical set up of your space. After a few months full-time WFH, we decided that my spouse needed a standing desk and that I needed to stop working at the dining room table. We replaced his desk and converted our guest room into an office with a Murphy bed/desk contraption. These were pretty pricey purchases, but they were worth it once we’d lived a few months without them.

    7. BlueDijon*

      Yeah we adjusted probably 3 or 4 times before we figured out a set-up that would work for however long we needed it to. If you have any opportunity to do so, though, I would strongly recommend building in as much separation from where you hang out from your work spaces. even if it’s across the room or moving to a different seat. That was the worst part, when it was just “close the laptop and now we’re just sitting on my couch…”, and my partner who spends more time on his personal computer than I do says this continues to be an issue for him.

    8. Quinalla*

      Agree with this, I’d honestly agree on a trial period – maybe a week – and then come together to make adjustments and agree on another trial period and keep adjusting.

      My husband and I both WFH almost every day together. We started off in the same room and quickly realized it wasn’t workable since he is on calls almost the entire day and I am on calls for 30-50% of the day and that is not great when in the same room. He got a new desk in a different room upstairs, I stayed in the basement, until then one of us would leave the room and do calls from our phone only which was not great when we really needed to be at our computers.

      The other adjustment that we still struggle with at times as he wants to come and chat to me multiple times a day where I am mostly head down working when I’m not on calls and honestly don’t want to be interrupted. I think that will likely be a huge adjustment if you both are used to WFH alone, if one of you has more expectations of being able to chat during the day and the other doesn’t want to and/or can’t.

      Also for me I need some time ALONE during the day and if he sees me “free” he always wants to talk, so sometimes I have to feel rude and say hey, I need some alone time now. It is easier when I am working to say – I’m busy sorry bye! That’s a more general struggle honestly cause I need a lot of alone time to recharge where he doesn’t need any and prefers to recharge one-on-one or in a small group. Pandemic definitely made things harder for me with all of us (we have 3 kids in the 7-12 range) in the house so much more of the time.

      We’ve also come to agreement that we’ll get lunch together usually about once a week – otherwise we generally do our own thing as we generally eat lunch at different times.

      Since you have separate rooms, I think you have a initial good setup, but plan ahead to make adjustments as you go and plan to have to set some awkward boundaries.

      1. E*

        Getting lunch separately helped us a lot. I didn’t realize how much extra mental load it was to coordinate our lunch times and food choices until we stopped doing it.

    9. Calm Water*

      Yes, the communication will be key! And remember, this will be a work conversation because in a way, you will be co workers. Things that are fine or don’t bother you on a relationship level may be a no go in a work context

    10. Event Coordinator?*

      Agreed. A lot of folks in this comment section are very “my spouse and I need to work in separate rooms!!” But that’s not always the case and there’s so many factors here. Try some stuff, communicate about it, and then decide what to do long term. Making these big decisions (like going to the office more or buying furniture) before you even try just continuing your normal routines or *gasp* both working in the study is not the move here. Congrats on sharing rent!

  3. met_anon*

    The key to this (and any situation of moving in with a new person) is going to be communication. I personally loved working from home with my partner. But if you’re both living alone now, you may need time to adjust to having someone in your space all the time, and office time could help. There will be a million little details to hammer out in cohabitation, so focus on open communication early on so resentments don’t fester.

    1. Putting the Dys in Dysfunction*

      Very much agree. Both communication and compromise. Let each other know when you have meetings scheduled that day. Use technology to blunt the effects where you can. Have an agreement as to who gets to do what when and where and under what circumstances.

    2. Can't Think of a Name*

      Agreed. I quarantined with my ex while we were both working from home, and having the separation during the workday and opportunity to interact with others really helps – otherwise you’re together pretty much 24/7!

    3. Momma Bear*

      I agree. You don’t know yet what the pain points are. Maybe even though you are in different rooms one of you will hear the other’s calls, for example. Communication will be key, both in adjusting to new routines with a joint household and with the office/work setup. Even if one of you is OK with working at the table, make sure that setup is comfortable and useful.

    4. MCL*

      My spouse and I both worked from home for several months during the pandemic. When we were both WFH, communication was totally key. I would message him if I needed to go to the basement (his office) for any reason, and if my office door was shut it meant I was on a call or do not disturb. We both take calls throughout the day and he manages people, so this worked for us so that we didn’t have to hear each other’s calls. Headsets are helpful if you have sound issues.

      Things I would consider – would him working at the kitchen table mean that it’s going to be difficult using the kitchen? I know you say you can pop in and out, but if he’s on a long call and you want to make lunch or something – will that start to grate? Will you have to pass through each other’s spaces if you need to get to the bathroom?

      I guess the only way to find out is through trying things out, and being as patient, flexible and communicative with each other as possible. If it’s NOT going to work for him to be in the kitchen All The Time (or whatever causes an issue), is he willing to go into his office more frequently? Are you? Can alternate WFH set-ups be accommodated?

      1. sofar*

        Yes, re: the kitchen. I work from the kitchen table. Never underestimate the amount of noise a microwave and fridge ice dispenser make when you’re trying to present. It’s annoying for my husband to tiptoe around when he’s making lunch and I hate having to ask him to time his lunch before/after my presentation when he’s squeezing in lunch between meetings.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          No advice on sharing a small space, but I can warn that some microwaves can disrupt some wireless equipment. It’s worth testing!

      2. Tali*

        This is a great point. Will you be in the background if he is on camera and you’re at the fridge? What will mealtimes look like–can you have a snack or start dinner early without disrupting him, is he going to need your room at all? Will you coordinate lunch together or are you on your own for it?

    5. Marco Diaz's Red Hoodie*

      +100

      Everything is about communication. It’s hard, but you have to create a space where both people can bring up concerns or make suggestions and know that they won’t be shot down or immediately shamed or something else. You have to just communicate. Everything is communication. I literally can’t say it enough times XD

      1. Fleahhhhh*

        1000000% this – communication is key!!

        I’m in fundraising for a food bank and my husband is a therapist. He had priority over the private office/bedroom space and would run a white noise machine outside the door. I only had to move if I had a zoom or phone call where I had to talk, since I’m sitting a table 15 feet away from him separated by the wall & door.

        It was lots of communication, both boring mundane stuff like “what is your schedule today” and more fun stuff like “we haven’t had date night in a while, let’s do it”

        Also being mindful of talking to or seeing others whenever possible – I completely underestimated how much I needed regular check ins with my team.

        Give yourselves patience, grace, and space to say “this is not okay right now” when you need to – you can make it work!

    6. Analytical Tree Hugger*

      Regarding communication: Consider writing out a cohabiting agreement!

      What drives each of you crazy when living with someone?
      What makes you feel appreciated when living with someone?
      What chores do you enjoy and which do you despise?
      How will you handle prioritizing who gets the study?
      How will each of you handle the other being on a video call (i.e. avoid the partner wearing only a towel in the background)?

  4. 3DogNight*

    There are 3 of us working from home, one in the dining room, one in a dedicated office, and one in a spare room turned into an office. Having someone who works late working in the dining room is a pain. We’re actually going to be re-arranging that, swapping with me, who doesn’t have as many meetings late in the day.
    On a personal level, spending 24/7, every single day, for 2 years is horrid. This is me. I’m an introvert, and have to get alone/quiet time on the regular. I’m not getting it and my mental health has declined, along with my temper. Consider not just the work aspect. 24/7 is great in the beginning, but it does wear on you.

    1. VI Guy*

      I feel the same way as you, and my partner ended up moving out recently. We’re still together, as the plan had always been to live separately when finances were better, and now we can. A year of being together 23/7 (I go on daily walks) was breaking me. My partner is also an introvert but seems fine with someone else in the home, whereas I am always conscious of other’s presence and I need time completely to myself. I said this before we moved in together, so this wasn’t a surprise, but being in isolation for a year and unable to go elsewhere during the day made that difficult. I am so much happier now!

      I think the key is flexibility, communication, and honesty with yourself and others.

    2. Always At Home*

      Yep, exactly this. My husband and I converted an extra room into a large office. It was cool – for a few days. We worked like that for 18 months. We found that gamer headsets are the best because they block background noise and we often had dueling meetings. We started using electronics at dinner rather than having our usual dinner conversations. Now that restrictions have lifted a bit, my husband commutes to his office because there’s only 3 people at most at his office and my office is still closed. We’re still trying to get back to dinner conversations.
      SO, yes, if it’s an option, try to work from office on some days.

    3. Silence Will Fall*

      Are you able to get out in the evenings? About a year ago, I started going for long walks after work, either in the neighborhood or some of the nearby parks. I’ll pack a sandwich or some hot food in a thermos and find a quiet place to sit and eat dinner. It was a little investment once winter came because I had to buy heavier boots and coat, but it’s been 100% worth it. It saved my mental health (and my relationship).

      1. Jay*

        I bought Sherpa Pants on EvilButTheyHaveEverything.com last winter – heavyweight sweat pants lined with fleece. They made it possible for me to continue my weekly breakfasts with a friend and those breakfasts were a lifeline for both of us. Fleece-lined boots, Sherpa pants, wool socks, hiking jacket that’s lined and windproof, hat, scarf. I looked like a cartoon of a little kid going sledding but I was warm enough to walk 2.5 miles and sit outside for over an hour (the restaurant also had small outdoor propane heaters).

      2. Undine*

        Of topic, but there are battery powered vests and jackets, which would keep you nice and toasty for this!

    4. Can't Think of a Name*

      Coming here to second making sure you both schedule time for yourself. Being together 24/7, and my ex’s resistance to spending any time apart, was one of the big things that led to our relationship going downhill (I mean, granted, there were other things going on, but constantly being together all our waking AND sleeping hours did not help anything)

    5. Tin Cormorant*

      I don’t have a paying job (stay at home mom to a 5-year-old daughter) but my husband works from home every day and isn’t expecting to be back in the office until some undisclosed time next year. Our house is less than 700 square feet, and we have two bedrooms, one of which is our daughter’s. So my husband has been stuck at the desk in our bedroom for a year and a half because there’s nowhere else in the house to work that isn’t worse.

      I’m an introvert too, and now that the kid is going to in-person Kindergarten in the mornings, I cannot WAIT until my husband goes back in to the office so I can have some time all to myself again. Constantly needing to tiptoe around the house so I don’t distract him is driving me bonkers. I swear on the first morning he’s away I’m going to play loud music and dance around the house naked just because I can.

    6. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      We have three of us working 100% from home (I’ve worked fully from home for seven years now, housemate for four, husband for two) and two of us are massive introverts, so yeah, we’ve had to be pretty conscious about making sure everyone gets their alone time. We make it work though. :)

    7. 3DogNight*

      Am I the only one who has run out of things to talk about at home? It’s gotten to the point of us being so much in each others business that it feels intrusive. Who are you talking to? What did they say? What are you reading. I’ve found myself closing things when he comes in, just to have SOMETHING that’s private. I hate it. All 3 of us work for the same company, in different divisions, so we can’t even talk about work, because, yawn.

    8. Jessica Fletcher*

      My roommate and I both wfh since the pandemic and yeah, same. There’s a huge difference between just living with a person and being in their workspace every day, all day. And we live in a small house, not a tiny apartment! She works downstairs in the dining room, and I work upstairs in either the spare room or my bedroom. At first, I could go downstairs for lunch. But after a while, it became too hard to try to unplug during lunch while listening to her talk or listen to her radio. It can be tough to relax.

      You should both also think about what privacy and confidentiality concerns might come up now that another person will be in your space. Depending on your job and field, it might not be ok to walk in and out of each other’s office spaces so much, where you’ll overhear meetings and calls and might see print outs or notes on confidential topics. It’s not about whether you might misuse that info, but that disclosing it in the first place is unacceptable.

      You might want to review your office’s privacy trainings.

    9. old biddy*

      yes! neither my partner nor I work from home but we’re an extrovert/introvert pair and he really missed his social hobby time with large groups of people and I missed my introvert decompression time that I used to get while he was out doing his hobby.

    10. sp*

      My husband and I are both introverts and are good at giving each other space despite being together almost ALL of the time. We have a harder time with our kids who are EXTROVERTS. They don’t stop talking. Them being home for remote learning was exhausting, and I didn’t/couldn’t even try to help with schoolwork.

  5. The Original K.*

    My best friend and her husband have both been remote for years. She takes the office (which is in the basement), he works at the dining room table. One thing they make a point to do is have lunch together a couple of times a week, just to have a “we are a married couple” touch point.

    1. Sabrina*

      That’s what my husband and I do too! We have a preschooler who occupies most of our evening time, so having lunch together is a great perk of both working from home. The logistics (who gets the desk, bedroom, dining room table for work) are a daily negotiation but it’s never been contentious.

  6. Respectfully, Pumat Sol*

    My spouse and I both work from home 100% of the time. Our house is 972 sqft. We do have three bedrooms, so both of us have an office, but really what matters is having separate spaces. What helped us was having a really open communication line and regular check ins about what was working and what wasn’t. My partner gets off earlier than I do and really needs that time to decompress before I end my day and start bugging him. I am on a lot of calls and he likes to play shows in the background while he works so we had to negotiate around volume levels. We have lunch together and make each other breakfast and go out for coffee together, but we’re also a really “do all the things together” kind of couple, so it’s really worked well for us. Just make sure you’re communicating regularly and when you do run into a pain point, try to bring it up before it becomes an anger point and bring it up calmly, like you would to any coworker.

    1. The New Wanderer*

      We have a similar setup and to me, it’s all about having spaces that are as separated as possible (recognizing this isn’t possible for smaller dwellings). My husband and I are both almost full-time remote and we can’t hear each other at all during the day. With our different break routines we usually don’t even see each other during the work day, which works for us.

      If you’re not sure yet what kind of separation you can find that works for you, then alternating days in the office is probably going to be your best bet until you figure out where you fit on the continuum between feeling isolated and feeling crunched together.

      1. Joielle*

        Yeah, I’ll echo the “as separated as possible” recommendation. For the first year of the pandemic, my spouse and I were both WFH in a 1200 SF, 3-bedroom house, but because of the way the house was set up and the complete lack of soundproofing anywhere, it still wasn’t tenable. We could hear each other 100% of the time, and he has 4-5 hours a day of Zoom meetings while I need total silence to concentrate on writing about 90% of the time. I wore noise cancelling headphones, which helped somewhat, but we ended up moving into a much bigger house over the summer.

        Now his office is in the basement, mine is on the second floor, and we can’t hear each other at all unless one of us goes to the kitchen, in which case the other will usually come and say hi if they can. It has been absolutely key to continued marital harmony.

  7. Lurker*

    Highly recommend comfortable to wear noise canceling headphones for both of you. My husband is a LOUD talker and even when we are working on different floors of our house these are a must for me!

    1. Reba*

      Oh yeah. My spouse and I both work full time from home, in the same room, and moderating the speaking volume is about the only point of friction we have had. One thing that helped was actually asking my spouse to stop using the over-ear headphones for a couple days — so they would realize how loudly they were speaking without the headphones muffling their own voice!

      I usually hop to the kitchen table when we have simultaneous meetings. But that means we have to touch base every day to let the other person know what our schedule is like. We don’t have meetings *that* frequently (at least I don’t!) and I think it would be more challenging to share an office if we were both talking a lot.

    2. Xenia*

      Agreed. I recommend looking into gaming equipment. It’s more expensive but it’s designed for people who care a lot about their sound and are also wearing it a lot. And it’s usually built to last.

      Same thing for keyboards/mice for that matter. Lots of good ergonomic options.

    3. MoreFriesPlz*

      Agreed! Another thing that helps is we have headphones for the TV so I can watch if he’s working late. I forget what it was called but we bought a little external wifi box thingy… it’s not a special fancy TV or anything.

  8. BlueberryFields*

    I live with my cousin (like a sibling to me), so not quite the same situation, but close enough. I would say you might want to consider working more in the office until you have time to adjust. It’s hard enough to learn what it’s like to live with someone (even if you know them well), so I would err on the side of giving each other lots of space throughout the day. I’ve had (and seen) relationships end because of too much together time. Obviously, your mileage may vary, but if you can avoid going from zero to one hundred, I think you will both be happier.

  9. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

    Do a tech check! My husband needed an Ethernet connection which required us running a cable to another room and not being able to shut the door which meant the dog was coming through and nosing the door open all throughout the day. Also figure out your temperature management, and I recommend headphones with noise cancellation. Decide too who is the one to go answer the door (all of our neighbors had their packages sent to us because they knew we were home).

    1. Silence Will Fall*

      Even if your employer doesn’t require an ethernet connection, you’ll probably want one. We had to beef up our package and drill a couple of discreet holes so we could both have a hardwired connection that could handle simultaneous video conferences.

  10. S*

    I actually enjoyed having my husband around while we were both working from home for more than a year. My employer is still not „letting“ us come back to the office and I find myself getting kind of lonely all alone in the house. It was definitely nice to have a lunch/coffee break buddy around. Separate rooms for working are an absolute must, though. At the beginning of the pandemic, we were living in a one bedroom flat with one of us working at the dining table and the other on the sofa / on the bed during conference calls, with a one year-old bouncing around. I can definitely NOT recommend that. But your setup sounds pretty reasonable.

    1. Hapless Bureaucrat*

      I was in a similar boat this summer during the brief time my spouse’s office was open. I was lonely! And I’m an introvert who had been around 2 other people (with our daughter) nonstop for a year!
      I realized that the energy drain from being in an office was, for me, way worse than being with my family. His return to work left me more isolated.
      When our offices open back up, he’ll go back mostly full time. I’ll go into the office a day a week to keep from feeling isolated, but otherwise wfh is very productive for me.
      What has worked for us is separate, flexible space. I have an office set up in our guest room, and also use the dining table. He usually uses the desktop in a common room, but will sometimes bring his laptop to our bedroom or the living room. We hung curtains between all the common rooms so we can enclose the spaces for better concentration. And because he does work that requires heavy server use, he’ll often do errands during the day and work some in the late evening.

    2. Nope, not today*

      My boyfriend only moved in this past April-ish… I’m still full time from home for now, he’s always been full time remote. Once my kids were back in school in person the house was way too quiet and I was missing the office a bit. With him here its far better – he comes down for coffee breaks, we chat, take the dogs out, go back to our separate spaces. I love it. However, we do have our own separate spaces which helps a ton (VERY separate, I’m off the dining room in the main living area on the first floor, and he’s got his office in the attic. So when both at our desks the house might as well be empty. But he’s been living alone for so long I dont think it would have worked if we were more in each other’s space).

  11. Lilo*

    Because of the pandemic my spouse and I had to work from home from the same living room in our small apartment. It was terrible, because he spent a lot of time on the phone.

    However we moved and mow have offices in separate rooms and it works now. Make sure to have physical distance between your desks, preferably with a door closed and keep clear separate work spaces and you should be okay.

    1. Ama*

      Separate spaces really does help — we were very lucky that we already lived in a tiny three bedroom (my husband actually worked from home a few days a week before the pandemic, and the third bedroom became a combined closet/my craft space, and then my actual office when the pandemic started). I unfortunately can’t close my door because I also share the space with our cat’s litter box, but he can and does (and has calls more frequently than I do anyway).

      The other thing we’ve learned is to give the other person a heads up if our routine is going to be different than normal. That means if he has an earlier than normal meeting that will mean he is trying to be in the bathroom/kitchen at the same time I am (TINY apartment, neither are two people spaces) or I am going to be running an all day virtual meeting so he better get any clothes he wants for the day out of the closet (which is in my office) before I start it is much easier if you can talk about those things and how to work them out ahead of time rather than springing it on someone who might be half awake or cranky about being surprised at the last minute.

  12. Yay, I’m a Llama Again!*

    Probably depends a bit on job type – I work in training so my job is talking all day most days. My husband says I have a Zoom Voice. Although I think I’m at normal speaking volume, it helps that we work on separate floors and he doesn’t have to talk all day. If you both have jobs with lots of meetings then you might find you’re too close, but if it’s more head down, get on with it then it might not have much impact.

    1. McS*

      I think everyone talks louder on Zoom but doesn’t notice it themselves. I have more meetings than my partner and he would tell me I was talking so loud, but he was doing it too, he just can’t hear it when it’s him.

    2. Rena*

      I agree that work type is really the determining factor. My husband and I have shared an office space at home through the pandemic, first in a 900 sq ft apartment, then in a house, and it hasn’t been an issue for us at all. Neither of us have many meetings, and when we do we give the other person a heads up and clarify if it’s a “speaking meeting” or a “listening meeting” or give a quick “jumping onto a call” alert for those chats that come up suddenly. We both have good headphones to focus when we need to.

  13. a thought*

    Long-term, do you want to have the dining room be a workspace? We had a workspace set up in our dining room for 18 months of the pandemic and when we finally removed it WOW we have our house back again and it’s not our office! (Now that workspace is just in the bedroom… but it’s way better for us).

    1. Dino*

      My ex-roommate and I called the home office living room setup “the doom corner”. It was a relief when I got a job that required going into work. Having work be visible at home sucks.

    2. sunglass*

      I’ve been working in our dining room since March 2020, and what made a huge difference to me was changing the set-up slightly when it was in office mode. Obviously this depends hugely on your space, but I moved the dining table so it was facing a different wall, and the big window was on another side, and set it up like a desk rather than a dining table. It made the room look and feel slightly different, and it did help. It worked for me because the table and chairs are light and easy to move and I only needed a laptop and notebook to work, which obviously isn’t everyone. But I would recommend that OP try to do *something* to the room when it’s in “office mode” to distinguish it from “living space mode”.

      1. Ama*

        One of the best things I ever did for myself since the pandemic started was rearrange the closet closest to my work space so I can easily put everything completely away and shut the door. I mostly only do it on weekends/vacation days but since my workspace is in the room where all my clothes are (so I have to go in there frequently even in my off hours) it just gives me a little mental break.

    3. sofar*

      haha yep. It really sucks having my dual monitors, ring light and laptop taking up half our dining room table. It’s like I never get to leave work.

    4. ErinWV*

      My husband and I both worked from our dining room table from March 2020 until August 2021 when I came back into the office full time. His office keeps pushing the date back and back and I don’t think they are realistically ever going back into their expensive downtown building. His dual-monitor setup and million Post-It notes are now just part of our landscape. I have tried to clear off the half I worked from best as I can. It’s enough room for the two of us to eat there if we want, though we rarely do.

      We actually worked great sitting three feet apart for more than a year. Neither of us are chatty and we got our work done pretty easily together. We had veto power over music (or used headphones). He has fairly regular meetings but his computer is in a corner so me coming and going was not a problem. I rarely have meetings or calls. I did volunteer with our county’s contact tracing effort at the beginning of the pandemic, and when I had to make a contact call, I would decamp to our guest room with my laptop, for confidentiality’s sake.

      We are definitely used to each other’s annoying habits and eccentricities, though. YMMV, especially if you are just entering co-habitation, which can be a rocky transition, especially for introverts.

    5. Elsajeni*

      Especially in an apartment layout like this, where it sounds like there isn’t a separate “dining room” so much as just a dining table in the living room. Will this mean that the main living space of the apartment is not really usable during the day? Does the partner working in the study have a place to eat lunch or take a break that won’t be in the way of the partner working in the living room? (Does the partner working in the living room want a place to eat lunch/take a break that’s out of sight of their work email? Because it sounds like they won’t have that, either.)

    6. LilyP*

      I’ll second that, my permanent work from home office station is also in our bedroom (with a room divider). It’s not as nice as a separate office but I do prefer it to having work space spill out into leisure space.

      Another compromise would be putting away as much of their work hardware as is practical at the end of the day.

      A little off-topic, but your partner should look into doing whatever they can to make an ergonomic set-up at the dining table if possible (good mouse/keyboard, getting screens at the right height, nice chair, part-time standing setup, etc) — it can be really bad for your body long-term to be straining your wrists/back/etc every day.

  14. Twenty Points for the Copier*

    My husband and I have both been work from home (him 80-90% of the time, as he does technically have an office he can go to and me 100% of the time except occasional meetings/networking) since long before the pandemic.

    Since I do not have any non-home office and have my home office registered with the regulatory board for my profession, I have the study type room. In our old place, it was a small 2nd bedroom but now we have a 2BR + den (i.e. small room with no windows) and I use the den. He likes to work from bed (idek) so it’s always worked well, though he pulls up a chair for Zoom meetings.

    The only issue we face is our dogs who really like to bark. Typically if one of us has an important meeting, the other takes the dogs.

    Where it does become a bit of an issue is when we go to my parents’ and my dad ALSO works from home full time. It’s fine when nobody has meetings, but there’s only 2 private rooms to take a Zoom meeting in so it becomes a lot of shuffling around to make sure people have privacy when they need it. However, even then we’ve managed to work through it.

    I’ll say having a door you can close helps but otherwise it hasn’t really been an issue other than we now have the most spoiled dogs in the universe.

  15. Eldritch Office Worker*

    My husband and I sped up our plan to buy a house when the pandemic started because our apartment was NOT suited to us both working from home and we were about to murder each other.

    The setup you have now sounds very workable! One thing I’d think about is sound. Do you both have a lot of meetings? I had a lot of meetings and my husband is a teacher so competing sounds was a big deal for us. If that’s going to be an issue I’d invest in some good headsets.

    Otherwise…you’ll figure it out as you go! It’s like anything else with moving in together. Be very communicative, flexible, and patient with each other. Be open to troubleshooting. And maybe schedule some time apart, whether it’s going in to the office a smidge more often or taking yourself out to lunch or whatever else. It’s a lot of time together when you’re working and homing at home, space can be refreshing.

    1. Springtime*

      Yes, I agree with being aware of sound. My spouse and I both worked from home in a 1000-square foot house, and sound was the biggest issue. We started out with one working in the living room and one in the bedroom, but even there was a door between, sound travelled through the shared wall, and it wasn’t workable. We rearranged our furniture so that we could work at opposite ends of the house, with two doors closed between us.

      There was a lot of good though. I loved that we could have lunch and dinner together every day, and we probably spent more time together than at any previous time in our marriage. Retirement is a ways off for us, but I’m really looking forward to it, when we can be together more again.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        That’s really sweet! WFH wasn’t really quality time for me and my husband, especially with him teaching at the beginning of the pandemic – so much stress and confusion. But we did get more time over the summer when he was off and I was the only one WFH and you’re right, extra time is great.

      2. allathian*

        Yeah, having a two-storey house, with my husband’s office on one floor and mine on the other, helped a lot when we were both WFH. Now my husband’s WFH 2 days a week and either at the office or traveling the other 3. I go to the office about once a week on average.

        When both of us are at home, we schedule lunch and coffee breaks together when possible. This has been great for us.

        Having enough space was crucial for us. Both of us are introverts, and I lived alone for most of my 20s and early 30s, and my mental health really suffers if I don’t get enough time to be all by myself.

    2. Ashley*

      I learned I am a loud talker so even with a floor between us it bothered my husband. Doors were crucial. I do like having a desk instead of the dining room table due to the height comfort.
      Aside from the noise the other learning curve was when it was ok to interrupt each other to have water cooler style chit chat during the work day.

  16. Sam Brown*

    It totally depends on you and your partner and your work styles. My partner and I both WFH, him from an office and I set up in the living room at the couch and coffee table. We sometimes will take breaks and meals together which is really nice, but having separate working spaces is really key. All in all though its great and I love getting to see him during the day and it’s like we still get the water cooler effect where we can talk through separate work problems together if we need to in real-time. (For context, he’s a software developer and I’m in academia and work on the side as a freelance writer)

  17. SushiRoll*

    I think you might have to try it out. Some couples/roommates/etc. can do this beautifully. Some cannot. My husband and I tried to share an office and it did not work (I got annoyed by him more then he got annoyed by me, but it did go both ways). He stayed permanent WFH and I went back to the office full-time. I hate losing an hour to my commute and miss some wfh things but otherwise it’s better for us. If we would have had 2 totally separate spaces it would have been fine (lose the guest room, the kitchen thing didn’t work for us), but I also didn’t really have a choice about coming back to the office unless I found a remote job.

    1. Loulou*

      Yeah, I TOTALLY understand the impulse to game out all the possibilities now, but in reality…you just have to try it out and see. What’s intolerable for one person here might be fine for you and your partner, and vice versa.

  18. Cube Diva*

    When my partner and I were both working from home during the start of the pandemic, we needed separate rooms– and this is still true on the random days they work from home now. Their desk has a permanent place in the corner of our living room, behind the couch– so it feels more out of the way than the dining table. I have a foldable desk and a utility cart that I set up each day in our kid’s room – and dismantle every evening so the kid can sleep in a toddler-proofed room safely.

    If I’m the only one working in our home for the day, I sometimes move to the couch with a lap desk, but I find that I’m much more productive in a separate space that is only for work.

  19. AbsolutelyYesOfCourse*

    We are both in the same room. I have to say, it’s a lot. But I would be kinda lonely working at home entirely alone and would want to go into the office more, I think. There are definitely workarounds if you find you don’t like the set up!

    1. sp*

      My husband and I work from home full time and will continue to do so post-pandemic. I was remote before, his position has been made permanently remote. We share a designated office room and work back to back. We also have a corner of the living room set up as a smaller workstation for a change of pace or duelling meetings. I can be VERY animated so occasionally mid-meeting I will hear a flurry behind me as he gathers his things and escapes. We frequently share meeting schedules at the start of the day to help with planning though.

  20. EventPlannerGal*

    I think this is something that will be hard to predict until you actually try it. A lot of it is going to come down to really subjective personal things (thinking of all the couples who discovered that their partner’s Work Voice drives them crazy) or stuff that won’t become apparent until it does (walls thinner than you expected, that kind of thing). Just be as flexible as you both can be, and communicate a lot about what’s working and what isn’t.

  21. Hex Libris*

    Moving in together will require a lot of adjustments anyway! This is something that can be part of learning to cohabitate if you’re both interested in keeping your current WFH schedules. As with so many things, good communication about what is and isn’t working for you will be key — don’t shy away from being deliberate about it through scheduled check-ins. And keep an open mind about your partner’s needs, it’s important to respect them even if they’re quite different from yours.

  22. Blue Puck*

    Hubby and I work from home. I am full time, 100% work from home. He travels, so his time at home can vary. His only office is at our home.
    We have our separate areas and we tend to keep to them. We come together for lunch and at defined times (3 pm is unload the dishwasher time). We inform each other of meetings so we know not to interrupt during those times. If you need to interrupt, listen for a few moments before entering the other person’s area to make sure they are not on an unexpected call. Ask if it is a good time before launching into a rant.
    Basic office manners now that I think of it. LOL.
    It works well for us.

    1. EvieK*

      Second the meeting notifications. If it’s critical that there are no interruptions, we put up a sign. It’s not possible to tell the difference between listening to a critical call with video on and listening to music when the headset is the same.
      We both gave jobs where we can’t let the other see or hear details of the work so proactive communication and assuming the other can’t be interrupted has to be our norm. But its a shared space so we do have to communicate during g the day on who gets the package or tends to the pets, etc. No communication is not an option.

  23. KHB*

    What are your jobs like? Do they mostly involve quiet solitary activities (reading, writing, typing…), or do either of you spend large amounts of your time on loud Zoom calls?

    My job is the former, my partner’s is the latter, and this was the primary cause of our driving each other absolutely nuts during the pandemic. Fortunately, we live close to my office (where I can go by choice or not), so I’ve been going in almost every day since I’ve been vaccinated. We’re looking to move to a bigger place, and our absolute must-have criterion is that it needs to either have two spare rooms out of earshot of one another or be easily walkable from my workplace. Ideally both, but such places are hard to find.

    1. KHB*

      I should add that we’re currently in a largeish one-bedroom, which is probably not too different from your smallish two-bedroom. My office setup was in the corner of the bedroom and his was in the living room. There was a door between us but it did not block much sound at all.

      The three-plus-bedroom houses we’re looking at now would have seemed, two years ago, like far too much space for our needs, but now we’re wondering if they might not be enough. My (admittedly cynical and misanthropic) view is that anyone in a multi-person household that adjusted seamlessly to working from home was living in a home that was too big to begin with.

      1. Ginger Baker*

        ^Correct. I live in a huge two-family house that has my mother, my adult sister, me, my two older teen kids and one partner of said kid and while the house is old and needs SO much repair and has SO many issues, the one thing is has in plenty is SPACE. Each person had a private work space outside of their bedroom, and it is 100% why we had fewer issues with quarantine than the norm. (I am actually looking now at consolidating my office with the craft room to be next-door-to my mom when she’s working because I am a bit lonely now that my previous first-floor “coworker” is back at school! Having a different room but able to pop in and chat just like I would in the office with people nearby is kind of nice when optional.)

      2. Web Crawler*

        > My (admittedly cynical and misanthropic) view is that anyone in a multi-person household that adjusted seamlessly to working from home was living in a home that was too big to begin with.

        That’s definitely not the case for me, but I’ll admit I’m probably an outlier. I’m just autistic and used to use 75% of my work energy on masking, aka pretending to be “normal”. I’ll happily take working a foot away from the TV and always being in the same room as my partner if it means I don’t have to work in an open-concept office.

      3. Joielle*

        Yep, this is very very similar to our situation. We ended up buying a MUCH larger house over the summer and more than doubled our square footage – now we have 3 large bedrooms plus finished basement plus den. It’s quite a bit bigger than we ever envisioned before the pandemic, but I don’t think we would be comfortable long-term in a smaller house with both of us WFH the vast majority of the time. Having separate offices with doors on different levels of the house was absolutely non-negotiable when we were looking at houses and I’m so glad we stuck to our guns on that!

      4. allathian*

        I’ve lived in pretty cramped conditions for most of my childhood and teenage years, much of the time in a 600 SF 1 bedroom apartment, where I shared the bedroom with my sister, and our parents slept in the living room. Luckily we had a large kitchen with enough space for a table for 6 people, so we could accommodate a few guests as well. But I suspect that one reason why my sister and I fought constantly in our teens was that we didn’t have any personal space to get away from each other.

        WFH was easy for us, because we have office space on separate floors, and when our son was in remote school in spring 2020, he had a room of his own. It also helped that he was a motivated and independent student, so we didn’t have to supervise him much, although I do admit that it was a relief when he went back to in-person school. Kudos to all parents who have to supervise their kids in remote school, or care for younger children who don’t have access to daycare while they’re WFH!

  24. HannahS*

    During the early part of the pandemic, my husband and I worked from home together, though not as frequently (mostly I was there 1.5 days a week, but there were three months where I was there every day). We had two set ups depending on what I was doing. If it was confidential, I set up in the bedroom and he’d be at the dining room table which was a desk because our apartment was tiny. If it it wasn’t confidential we’d sit across from each other, each with headphones.

    The setup was magnificently un-ergonomic and wrecked my back, but emotionally it was great; we got to spend a lot of time casually together throughout the day. It was our first year of marriage, too, so not that different from your situation.

    1. It can be nice to eat lunch and snacks together but don’t put pressure to do so if your schedules don’t line up.

    2. If your work styles aren’t compatible (one of you takes long meetings, the other needs silence), keep your work spaces very separate. Respect each other’s work style and needs.

    3. One unexpected consequence is that we didn’t have as much to talk about at the end of the day, because we’d heard about each other’s day throughout. This was more of a problem when we were under lockdown because there also wasn’t anything else to do.

  25. Lacey*

    I started working from home March 2020 and my husband started working from home in April of 2021 when he got a new job.

    We had previously had our desks set up in the same room, but realized that if we were both working from home we would drive each other insane in the same room.

    So now we work in different rooms and there’s a room between them. There are no doors to close, so we both wear headsets a lot of the day. I alert him when I’m going to be on a call or in a meeting, so that he knows not to interrupt me.

    It works really well.

    Now, we do technically have a larger space than you do. It’s a three bedroom house. But for most of the day we’re actually on the same floor in a space that’s probably around 600 square feet. If we needed to we could convert one of the bedrooms into an office on a different floor, but we haven’t, because we just haven’t felt a need for any more space than we already have.

    One big difference is that we’d already been living together for 6 years when we started this. So it’s not 0-60 in the same way as what you’re doing. But, prior to this my husband worked 60-70 hours outside of the house, so I had a LOT of alone time and now I have almost none. You kinda have to know yourself for that part. I don’t need a lot of alone time from my husband, but you might be different.

  26. WestOfTheRiver*

    My fiance and I are in a very similar situation and have found ways for us to make it work.

    Our apartment is 2 bedrooms (one of which we use as an office) and a decently sized living/dining area. Generally we’ve worked out a rhythm where they feel comfortable working in the dining area while I use the office, but we keep an open communication (usually a check-in about each others’ schedules the night before) so that if either of us needs privacy or a particular environment, we can switch as necessary.

  27. kiki*

    Every couple is different. I think the most important thing is communication, mutual respect, and a willingness to figure things out. Schedule weekly meetings to discuss how things are going, be really proactive about addressing issues instead of letting them stew, and have a plan for working outside the home for days when things aren’t going well (either going into the office or working from a coffee shop or whatever works for you).
    One thing that stands out to me as a potential source of issues with your current arrangement is your partner working from a common area. I would try to figure out some sort of space they can go for privacy, more heads-down work and calls, even if they end up work from the dining table most of the time. It’s really easy to get distracted and annoyed in a common area by a partner coming in and out for tea and snacks and other totally normal things.

  28. Ms. Hagrid Frizzle*

    Part of it will really depend how much time each of you may be spending on calls or video conferences. My parents both work from home and their offices are across from each other in rooms separated by a hallway (the dining room and what would traditionally be a formal living room). My father is on the phone pretty consistently for his work while my mother was used to having lots of quiet (she worked from home pre-pandemic, he came home in 2020 and never left). They have found that she really struggles to tune out his voice and it’s shockingly exhausting to always be listening to your partner, and while noise-canceling headphones don’t work for her they may work for your partner.

    Part of the challenge they have also had to navigate (and it’s a work in progress!) is getting my father to recognize that while he doesn’t *think* he has talked about his day with my mother, she’s heard all of it! And when they are both trying to relax after working hours, my mother does not need or want the “oh this is how the so-and-so meeting went” or “Bob was being extra difficult today” conversations they used to have pre-pandemic because she experienced all of those things in real-time. So I guess I would suggest you both practice being mindful, gracious, and patient with each other and keep the lines of communication open.

  29. anon because my husband reads*

    My spouse and I have been working from home together since 20…18? 2019? A few years, anyway. I switched to an all-remote job and his office closed for renovations and then even though we’ve both changed jobs since then the pandemic happened and now nobody has an office. And it’s been fine. First we had a setup where we were both in the living room, but it was a really long (20′) room so we were each at one end and could manage. Then we moved to a place with a smaller living room, so my “office” was in one corner of it and he worked in the dining room. Then we moved again, this time to a place that’s big enough to have a spare room designated as a home office but we both share it. We also both have meetings-culture-heavy jobs now so we take turns taking calls from another room, if we both have one scheduled at the same time. But with careful desk placement and really good headphones (he’s a video editor and I’m in a writing-heavy role) for both of us, we’ve made it work pretty well!

  30. piefaceline*

    There’s lots of great tips here already, but mine would be specifically for the person working in the dining room. Is there a way they can pack down their desk at the end of the day? I use a big monitor for working with and for the first 6 months or so of the pandemic I left it out all the time even when I wasn’t working. Now I pack it down every day and it makes a big difference to making our space get back to being ‘home’ again after I finish work for the day.
    I didn’t want to do it at first because I thought it would be annoying to have to get everything out every morning, but in reality it takes less than a minute and the benefits to our space are worth it.

    1. Liz*

      I do this too, but only on weekends. or when I’m off. like tonight i’ll pack it all up as I’m off tormorrow, and next Wed, the same, for Thanksgiving. i can’t do it daily, and it doesn’t realy bug me all that mcuh, knowing i’ll just go back the next day. but weekends etc. i def. put it all aside

    2. LizB*

      I think this is a good tip for anyone working in an at-home space that isn’t 100% reserved for work. When I’m working from home I use my “office” — which is also my craft room, d&d-playing room, general hangout room, etc. My work-life division got way better when I set up a designated spot to house my work laptop and peripherals during non-work hours. It’s so worth it to move all my work paraphernalia out of sight in the evenings (and especially on the weekends!) and feel like I have my space back for relaxing. (I don’t move my monitor since I use it for personal computer-ing as well.)

      1. allathian*

        My monitor has dual leads, and it’s connected to my work laptop and my home computer. When I stop working for the day, I switch off my work computer and close the lid. If I’m not working the next day, I also move the external keyboard and mouse (I don’t want to work without a numeric keypad and an external mouse) on top of it. Then I go for a walk or bike ride, or exercise in our basement (our house is built into a southern slope, so the north side of the ground floor is below ground level, while our main entrance is on the first floor). On weekends I can sit on the same chair, but use a different computer, without getting anxious about having my work stuff in sight. The fact that I’m not expected to keep an eye on emails or other messages when I’m not working also helps in keeping work and leisure time separate.

    3. Hlao-roo*

      For those who don’t want to/can’t pack down their desk every day, I’ve heard some people will cover the computer/monitors with a sheet or towel at the end of the day for the psychological shift from work to home.

    4. Kippy*

      Yeah, when I work from home (1-2 days a week now but daily in the early pandemic) I work from the dining room table and packing up my “office” at the end of the day instead of leaving the laptop, the tablet I used as a spare monitor, the separate keyboard and mouse, and various files really made a difference in transitioning from “work” to “home” mode both physically for the other inhabitants of the household and mentally for myself. It only takes a few minutes to set everything up in the morning but then I go for a walk around the block (my commute) and I know, and my husband knows, that when I get back it’s work time.

    5. Eliza*

      Yes, or perhaps dividing up the dining room so it can function as an office and dining area without literally working at the dining room table.

      My sister and I lived in a small house together at the beginning of the pandemic. I had an office space in an alcove upstairs, and she had a desk in the corner of the dining room downstairs, separate from the table where we ate. That corner was her “office” and freed up our table to use as… an actual table. It made it feel less like the office was infecting our off-time.

      Now, I live alone in a one-bedroom apartment and I have an eat-in kitchen but no office, so I turned my dining area into an office and take my meals in the kitchen. It’s super helpful in separating work stuff from home stuff, even in a pretty small space.

  31. WellRed*

    I live with two roommates. It’s a large space. There were times last year I wanted to scream, although that was partly because neither one EVER left the house.

    1. LizB*

      I had never realized pre-pandemic how much I valued having times where I was the only human in my house. I’m lucky to have a lot of space, so I can be two floors away from my partner if I want to, but that’s still not the same as having him be actually out of the house.

      1. Fanny Price*

        My Mother’s Day gift in 2020 was my husband taking both kids away for the afternoon so I got several uninterrupted hours at home alone. And my kids were teenagers! I don’t know how you parents of little kids survived.

  32. Miraculous Ladybug*

    I’ve been remote with my partner since the beginning of the pandemic—at first in a small studio, and now in a one-bedroom. We both work from the living room with our desks facing away from each other. I face the window, my partner is across the room facing the opposite wall, and it works super well. I’m not ready to go back to the office and we are both pretty much loving it, I think for a few reasons

    1. We’ve lived together for years and know our rhythms on how to be together. This is, like someone else said, a work in progress and we make a point to check in with each other on how we’re handling things during the day to make sure we’re both feeling supported and like we have space.

    2. My partner works in a very meeting-heavy place, but I don’t, so we rarely have overlapping meetings. My workplace is chill enough that when we do have overlapping meetings, I just go into our bedroom and close the door. This was something we discussed and agreed on, it doesn’t happen that often, so it’s working totally well. I also check if they’re on a meeting before doing something like, say, grinding coffee.

    3. We take lunch at the same time every day and that’s a nice little moment of connection! We also take walks together, have tea together, offer the other snacks when we’re getting up to get one—it’s kind of like having a coworker at the office who you get coffee with for a break.

    4. Noise-cancelling headphones are a godsend

    Basically there’s a lot of communication and we spend a lot of time together anyway, so it’s worked out super well. I think just talking, a lot, all the time about how this is working and what we each need has been the key to success. If you can do that, and be honest about what you need and give your partner space to do the same, you’ll be good to go!

  33. Brett*

    My wife is back in the office now, but for a while we were both working from home. She was streaming music lessons (and practicing and making recordings). I have a job that is very meeting intense. Same setup. One of us in the closed study, one in the open dining room. Two hallways and about 60′ separated us in a 1900 sq ft home.

    The sound issues were a mess, even with us on opposite sides of the house and with her in a closed room. It got even worse when I switched to the closed room, because my voice carries and filled the open space she was working in even with the door closed. (In other words,, the room kept out sound, but did not contain sound.) This was despite sound having to escape the room and travel down two hallway and about 60′.

    But the real problem was bandwidth. We had the max plan we could get from our internet provider, but still had huge problems with two people needing to stream at once (especially at full sound quality, which meant disabling the zoom compression settings).

    My wife jumped back full time to the office first chance she could get. The noise and bandwidth, combined with virtual lessons being relatively ineffective compared to in-person, all translated into a situation that just could not work long term.

  34. pcake*

    I guess the question is how noise-averse you both are.

    I’ve worked from home since 1996 in my dedicated part of the living room. My husband started working from home in March of 2020, and continues to work from home two days a week. He works in a dedicated space in one of the bedrooms. Neither of us bother the other this way, and when he has Microsoft Team meetings, he just closes the door and what little sound escapes doesn’t bother me at all.

  35. Shaw*

    We’ve been working from home this entire pandemic time (1.5+yrs) and have a similar sized home (small 2 bed rm cottage-but w/a yard, so occasionally work outside). Hubs is in our spare room, and I’m in our living area. It’s been fine for us as people who previously worked in the office full time. Yes, there have been annoyances-I’m loud, he’s not…so headphones and taking walks during calls helps. The bonuses have far outweighed the bothers for us. Midday walks, tea time, chore/dog snuggle breaks, naps etc have been really nice. I will say we’ve been together for a long time. So we had the ease of an established relationship going into this new normal. However, we are polar opposites, who never worked from home together, so it could have turned out badly- but we’re still married and alive so #winning!

  36. Caroline Bowman*

    I have always worked from home and am fortunate to have quite a large office outside of the main house. When the pandemic started, my husband put up his own desk and was able to get nicely set up, and in theory it was fine. What wasn’t fine was that I often need real quiet when I work – I have to listen and note what’s being said quite a bit. He has quite a few meetings and calls in the course of a day. These always, always coincide with me needing real quiet!

    Saying that, now I miss him, so whatever you do, there is bound to be some teething lol. Separate, defined work spaces are an excellent start, and the fact that you can actually go elsewhere regularly would also be very helpful. At least a couple of times a month, by the sounds of things, you will have time to yourself, at home.

  37. Aarti*

    My hsuband and I both worked from home through the pandemic. We worked in different offices and could each shut our doors. It worked ok. The door shutting really helped, as well as the fact that neither of us block the kitchen or bathroom when we are in our own rooms.
    Things to check – how’s the internet when you are both on calls?
    Respect for each other.
    Signals – i.e., if my door or his door is shut both of us know not to bother each other
    Routine is pretty darn important, so each of us knows what the other is doing.

    I am still working from home 2-3 days, he is full time. This works best. All the time I can’t do.

    1. WFH is all I Want*

      Yes! And what’s the policy for rebooting the modem! Nothing like getting kicked off your presentation because your partner decided to fix their internet lag.

      1. Blue Puck*

        Good one! NO resetting unless all parties agree and are experiencing issues.
        We call out ‘Internet?’ . Responses are ‘Good here’ or ‘Resetting’

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Yes — that’s our house rule even when nobody’s working. Everybody who’s awake has to thumbs up a reboot.

  38. EEB18*

    My husband and I have both worked from home full-time since the start of the pandemic. One thing that’s come up is that my husband’s organization has some toxic qualities, and I end up feeling a lot closer to the toxicity than I would if we were both working from our own offices. For example, sometimes I’ll hear one of my husband’s coworkers talk to him in a really condescending way, and get angry on his behalf. Or his boss will roll out a terrible new policy, and instead of venting about it with his teammates, my husband will vent to me. Obviously as his partner I’d hear about a lot of this stuff even if we were both working from the office, but since we’re both home all day, I hear about ALL of it. Depending on how small your space is and how much of each other’s work you’ll overhear, it’s worth considering how much you do or don’t want to experience each other’s work cultures.

  39. WFH is all I Want*

    The only issue I’ve run into is the bathroom. Ours is right between both bedrooms and my other half can be very noisy when using it. Also fighting for a quick “bio break” when we both have back to back meetings has been a very real issue.

    We did have an issue about using the kitchen but finally agreed that we are only cooking lunch for ourselves and not each other.

    It’s just setting expectations and having a system to alert the other when the meeting you’re in is incredibly important and/or adding to your stress so there’s more awareness and less resentment.

  40. Divergent*

    With big relationship changes I’ve found it beneficial to have a weekly/monthly check-in to touch base on what’s working and what needs to be tweaked. If it’s possible to do a week of your current schedule, check in at the end of the week and decide whether you want to change it, and then try a week of the change… it’s much easier than trying to predict what will work best ahead of time and getting stuck in doing that even if it doesn’t work.

  41. Fabulous*

    Personally, I would suggest setting up your partner in the study and you take the dining room, since they’re full time remote and you’ll be in and out. That way you won’t have a permanent work setup in your main living space.

  42. tiniestgarden*

    My partner and I both worked from home in our previous small bed flat (he worked from the master bedroom, I worked from the dining table in the living room. Three years ago we moved to a large flat where we very fortunately each have a separate dedicated office room (we are extremely lucky!)

    I found the former situation quite difficult although he was fine with it – we have quite different working styles (he can be loud!) and I found working from a non-permanent desk a pain because I would have to pack up my workstation for meals. I also hated having no privacy for calls. I ended up hiring a small room in a nearby coworking space and whilst it was an extra business expense, it made a massive difference to how I felt about our living/working situation.

    Now we’re in the big flat, the difference is night and day. We can easily shut doors and I have a permanent desk set-up, and privacy for calls. It has also made us really enjoy aspects of working from home together – we often take a lunchtime walk together and make each other tea occasionally, which is a lovely thing to be able to do.

  43. Awesome Sauce*

    Echoing the advice to consider it a work in progress, especially since you are both used to having your own place.

    In my house there are 3 adults and 3 bedrooms. One person does not have paid work outside the house (and does the vast majority of the household chores, so is busy in the kitchen, living room, and dining room most of the day) but the other 2 are working 100% from home – one is 1 FTE and the other is about 0.75 FTE. The 1 FTE person and the unemployed person share a bedroom for sleeping, and the third bedroom functions as an office. The 0.75 FTE person is in meetings more than half the time and requires quiet and privacy, so that person has a workstation in their bedroom. (The common areas are obviously not private enough, and the unfinished basement is too noisy because of the furnace, plumbing, and laundry machines. None of the bedrooms are big enough to put 2 workstations in, unless there was literally zero other furniture, which isn’t an option because of Reasons.) So, that’s where we’re at! It works for us, for now. We may have to revisit the arrangement when 0.75 FTE’s hours change and overlap with the other housemates’ sleeping hours.

  44. Annika Hansen*

    My boyfriend (now husband) and I had maintained separate places prior to the pandemic. We moved into his house (bigger but not big) at the beginning of the pandemic. I have a desk in a bedroom that I use as my office. He has an office in our loft area (open to the kitchen/living room). He uses a noise-cancelling headset all day to listen to music and for meetings.

  45. Anti anti-tattoo Carol*

    Weighing in a someone else who works a hybrid schedule in a small, 2 br situation/1 office situation, and with a partner who does the same. They were always hybrid and I had to move to hybrid at the beginning of the pandemic. It’s worked out very well. We’re fortunate to have flexible workspaces, and I tend to go in more (they’re only in on a quarterly basis and will be indefinitely). My experience has been about 95% positive. The 5% of “argh!” is because when we’re both home and something needs to be done urgently (answer a call from our kiddo’s school, deal with the pets, let the handyman in, run midday errands), my spouse tends to expect me to be the more flexible person. Not due to gender roles- it’s because they’ve had a longer time to draw their mental work/personal life boundaries and are very good at it. It can get frustrating to be the on call human, and my one piece of advice would be to make sure you’re discussing that aspect of your lives. Share your calendars if you can. Trade responsibility for dealing with extracurriculars. Make sure that one partner doesn’t consider their work more important or urgent than the other (my sibling’s spouse does this).

  46. Calyx Teren*

    My husband and I have been married 20+ years and also both work from a two bedroom townhouse (~1350 sf). We have no office doors, but have two floors. We’ve been pretty much self isolating since the start of the pandemic.

    It works pretty well for us and we are happy. I feel like I would never want to go back to an office.

    Things that help:
    – Having sincere respect for each other
    – Being very comfortable together
    – Having naturally quiet voices
    – For me, having the option of working from my dining room table desk, bedroom, or sitting room (he’s happy in the upstairs bedroom/office)
    – Knowing how to let each other have plenty of spaces in our togetherness despite being cooped up
    – Having a portable green screen upstairs so that I can walk up there without being observed; my camera downstairs faces the wall behind me, so our privacy isn’t at risk from the other person’s job
    – Good headsets

    Things that I think would raise the risk:
    – Living together for the first time and not having come to a state of equilibrium on all of that—watch out for WFH becoming a proxy for that adjustment
    – Different standards on tidiness
    – Different standards on how much work seeps into the rest of your life

  47. Jane*

    My partner and I both work from home!

    We have an “office space” in our spare bedroom that my partner uses most of the time. It’s got a more professional look (fancy bookshelf, etc) and a door that closes, which is a good fit for his work that involves recording audio and external video meetings.

    We also have a small desk in our living room that I use most of the time. I rarely need private space and most of my meetings are 1-1s with my boss, so I use a background blur effect on Zoom and mute myself if my partner needs to use our kitchen (which is close enough for sound to travel).

    We keep our workspaces minimalist so we can swap whenever needed – if I have an external meeting, I can just grab my laptop and work from the office, while he can easily switch to the living room set-up.

    This is made easier by the fact that both of our jobs are very digital (thankfully this is more common!) so we don’t need to keep physical paperwork/reference documents handy.

    We usually check in at breakfast each morning to confirm what the other has going on so we don’t interrupt each other – if my meeting goes to 1pm he’ll plan a late lunch, or if he’s got a recording session at 10am I’ll keep my music down or use headphones. During really busy times we’ll use a family Google calendar to keep track of meeting times and locations.

    We absolutely love this lifestyle. It’s so nice that neither of us have to go out during miserable weather, it’s wonderful to get immediate support after a bad meeting/frustrating day, and we enjoy getting to spend our lunch breaks together watching an episode of our latest show or catching up on a podcast together. It’s like having the best coworker ever!

    We do our best to collectively disconnect around suppertime. We both try not to book evening work meetings, shut our computers off, and not check work stuff on our phones. It really helps to keep a divide between work and home life.

  48. Sad Desk Salad*

    I have a similar setup to LW, small two-bedroom townhome, she works from home 100% of the time, and I have the option to go in or stay home whenever I want (and choose primarily to work from home). Our spare room only has one desk/monitor setup, and I am usually working on dense multi-document projects that require a screen rather than a laptop, so I usually use the spare room and she works from the couch. However, there are times when we both need a screen, or one of us just wants to get out of the house, so I’ll head to the office then. Occasionally we’ll both just be typing away on the couch. I think taking separate spaces when you either need to be on camera, or in full concentration mode, is a good idea, and you have a good plan for keeping out of each other’s way. Just be sure you’re taking time to continue to date each other, and not letting your physical closeness during the workday be a substitute for being emotionally present for each other.

  49. Jay*

    First of all CONGRATS! That’s exciting, and I hope you’re very happy together.

    My husband and I both WFH. I work full-time and I’m WFH on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He works a few hours most days of the week, always from home. For the first 8 months of the pandemic, our college-aged daughter was also home doing full-time online classes. We have enough bedrooms for each of us to have a private space to work although sound travels, which can be challenging.

    My advice as with all things relationship is to talk. A lot. How do you two generally navigate disagreement? Will you be able to work it out if you do end up feeling like you’re on top of each other? What does “this is going fine” look like to each of you? Whatever arrangement you end up with, try it for a while (maybe a month) and then check in even if you think it’s going fine – “so how is this working for you?” There may be small things that one of you wants to change that don’t rise to the level of We Have To Talk.

    A few specifics that I’d want to work out in advance: are we going to try and eat lunch together? If your partner is working on the dining room table, do you need or want that table free of work gear at the end of the day? Do you start and end work at the same time? Can he use the study if you’re not working and want to watch TV or do something else in the public space of the apartment?

    I think it’s doable, and how well it works is totally dependent on you and your partner. It’s no tragedy if you find you need to stagger your schedules. It doesn’t mean you’re incompatible as partners.

  50. Anonymous, colleagues who read here will recognize it*

    That depends on you and your partner, how much you each mind/want interruptions, how much you each even want to see each other at all during the workday, how well you communicate your preferences, wants, annoyances, etc with each other, how will you are to change things up if what you agree on does not work.

    For example, my husband and I worked out a “if the door is closed, do NOT bother me unless it is fire, flood, or blood”. We also let each other know about any scheduled meetings, work that cannot be interrupted unless it is a LOT of fire, flood, or blood, etc.

    If we are out in a public space, so to speak, like the kitchen or dining room, then ok to chat with the other person. We each had to agree not to feel butt-hurt if the other person said, I just have a minute and have to get back to work.

    Now, I would prefer to have the house completely to myself. I usually don’t want to have lunch with anyone, I need some personal quiet time. I’ve had to either take my lunch when my husband does not, or just decide that today we will have lunch together. And not be an ass about it regardless. (I’m the introvert, he’s the extrovert)

    Works very well now. However, my husband has had a couple of bouts of severe anxiety and depression. If I was home, it was really hard for him to obey the closed-door rule. I ended up going into the office more than I had to, because I needed to get work done and I needed the break from care-taking. I also used up a lot of leave to take care of him when I was at home.

  51. Dona Florinda*

    We only have one spare bedroom and my husband uses it to work, since his job requires an awful lot of calls that mine doesn’t. I mostly work in the living room or, if I need to make a call, I use our bedroom. I started using the bedroom for calls after my husband passed behind me in the living room during a meeting, my boss wanted to say hi, they started to chat and the whole thing derailed. Could be worse, but it was annoying at the time.
    This works just fine for us, but your situation might be different, so just give a it try for a couple weeks and see how that goes. Maybe you won’t even have to go to the office if you don’t want to: you might have to switch rooms to find the best match, or create some rules, but it’s totally possible to make it work for both of you.

  52. Green great dragon*

    Have a discussion about the details. Would a silent delivery of a cup of tea be lovely or an unwanted distraction? How bothered would you be about someone coming in to get something in the room you’re working in? Would you eat lunch together (& who prepares it)? If you’re doing something not time-sensitive, are you fine to be interrupted to have a break together/to discuss a work issue they’d like to ask you about, or do you want total separation?

    How will you communicate during a work day? I keep my camera pointing away from the door so my teenagers can stick their head in and depending on what I’m doing may get absolutely ignored, a quick headshake, ‘is it important?’ or ‘hello darling how can I help?’, but maybe you’d prefer to IM each other.

    (Relevant experience: I can work with my kids in the house fine, but not my parents.)

    1. Lauren19*

      The setting break parameters is really important. My husband and I have very different work cultures, to the point that my son is convinced all I do is talk to my friends all day (I have great relationships with my colleagues). My husband gets zero social interaction from his colleagues and so often wants that from me. Be clear on when and how often you can each be interrupted and for how long.

  53. Viki*

    My spouse and I work from home. Things to be aware of:

    *You have just gained your newest boss/coworker/office manager. The sheer proximity means your spouse will know more about your job than before. They will get opinions on your work that they wouldn’t have had before.

    *Conversations ABOUT work with spouse will be harder to avoid WITHOUT firm boundaries. It just happens, and since even with separate offices/space, things spill over.

    *You will learn about habits you never thought you needed. I talk when I type, apparently. My spouse decided to let me know this which no one had ever told me before.

    *Meeting coordination will be a thing, if you have thin walls. So will clothing. Some teams (mine) do on camera meetings all the time. In the summer, since WFH, spouse doesn’t like to wear shirts. Make sure everyone knows when a meeting is to plan accordingly.

    *Chores and WFH. If you’re the early riser and you make the coffee first thing, try to work it out so that you’re not the one who makes the coffee all day (if both of you drink coffee) that can breed resentment.

    *Maybe take lunch apart. You spend a lot of time together, working from home and living with your spouse and people need space in small increments.

  54. KellifromCanada*

    My husband and I work from home, but we each have a separate office. That way we have quiet for phone/video calls and space to leave our computers/paperwork/etc. We meet up in the kitchen at lunchtime unless one of us has a meeting or is otherwise busy, but otherwise don’t see each other during the day. I don’t know how comfortable we would find it if we didn’t have our own offices. I know I need quiet to work. We also often work extra in the evenings, so if one of us was at the dining room table in the evening while the other was not working, that would be very inconvenient.

  55. Web Crawler*

    My platonic partner and I live in a 2 bedroom apartment and have different bedrooms- the kitchen/living room/hallway is all one room, so we spend most of our waking hours within whispering distance. She works weekends in retail and does art during the weekdays, and I work 100% from home. In our off hours, we’re both homebodies.

    We get along really well, but it’s still been a lot. I can’t imagine how hard this would’ve been if we weren’t diligent about communicating.
    We’ve got some informal rules that we seem to follow to make this whole process easier:

    1. There’s a process for saying “I’d like the house alone- please go somewhere else for a few hours”. Generally, the issuer has to give 2 days notice, and the person kicked out has to text before they come home. It’s not personal- space is important.

    2. We had some problems around talking and disrupting each other’s focus, so now we’ve got some rules around when is a good time to initiate a conversation. Most of the time, if I’m coding, she texts “can I talk when you get a sec?” and then I turn around when I get a break. If she’s focusing, I write my question down so I don’t forget it and wait until she gets up (bc text messages disrupt her more).

    3. Another rule is “ask the person focusing before watching tv/playing something without headphones”.

    4. Both our screens face the room. We both pretend like she can’t see or hear my work output. I don’t talk about her art unless she brings it up.

    5. Not a rule, but something that really helps is that we have different sleep schedules. I usually get a few hours in the morning to myself, and she gets more hours after I go to bed.

    6. Our last couple of vacations have been separate for logistical reasons, but it’s actually been nice. It gave us more to talk about, and the space to miss each other.

    1. Web Crawler*

      To clarify, we both have a small bedroom that contains a bed and a sitting place, but both of our desks are in the common room, along with everything else.

  56. RagingADHD*

    I WFH and my husband has a flexible work schedule. Most of my billable work requires deep concentration and I have a very hard time concentrating when he or the kids are home, because I’m always subconsciously braced against an interruption–even on the (rare) occasions it doesn’t happen. None of my people are rude, but they do have legitimate needs and I can’t just zone out if there’s a huge crash from the kitchen or someone is hollering. Since I like them, they also present “attractive hazards” to my own distractibility.

    If my husband began working from home all or almost all the time, I’d have to find a new workspace at the library or a coffee shop. I can ignore strangers much more easily.

  57. debby*

    My husband has been working from home since 2000 and I have since the pandemic began, we are lucky to have two spare bedrooms so we each have our own office. Its been fine. When I was in an office I was in a cube so I have much more privacy and quiet at home than I ever had in the office. I work a help desk and am on the phone all day and I don’t really have an inside voice but having the two separate offices makes that fine.

  58. Mental Health Lawyer*

    A game changer for my partner and I has been white noise machines. The create these virtual sound walls that give us privacy and the shut on shut off switch is almost a ritual in alerting the other person we are in work mode. I highly recommend for anyone sharing a space.

  59. Katie*

    I have the same set up with my partner but I’m the dining room. We will switch if I have a meeting I need privacy/super focus for. Headphones are helpful as well. We also established that since I’m in the dining room, if I’m on a meeting and talking the other person has to be quiet and understand that I’m not gonna break my focus from the meeting to say hi. It feels weird at first but needed to be a boundary for us.

    The biggest thing is to make sure you spend time off the clock together. It’s so easy to keep slack up and work late, truly unplug and hang out.

  60. Veronica*

    Communication and flexibility are key
    My spouse and I share a home office which has two desks. We have been doing this for ten years. We have set days on who gets priority and a shared calendar of when we need the office for confidential calls. Today I chose to work from home even though I was scheduled to go to the office. My house has a board meeting this afternoon. So we are sharing the office for the morning and then I’m moving to the cramped laundry room in the afternoon. Also my company generally doesn’t care about people passing by in the camera.

  61. irene adler*

    Check the acoustics!
    Yes, you are positioned in separate areas. Sound travels, however. Sure, you can close the bedroom door. Will that bring the sound level down enough to work/concentrate/not disrupt any on-line meetings being conducted?

  62. Elizabeth*

    My husband and I work on opposite ends of a large room in the basement. I was hesitant that we’d get sick of each other, but honestly, it’s been great. It’s really just like sharing an office at the office, except my cube mate is someone I actually really like. The only challenge has been making sure no one is unmuted when we ask the other a personal question!

  63. Cormorannt*

    I know a lot of people say that separate spaces are key, but I wanted to add a different perspectives. I moved in with my partner at the beginning of the pandemic and we both worked from home full time for about six months. We shared a small basement office, each with a desk facing opposite walls. It worked great for us. He is in meetings/on calls a lot of the day, with a headset. I am rarely on calls and when I was I would take them in another room. I do a lot of data-heavy work on the computer all day and I normally listen to music or podcasts. I used my noise-cancelling headphones and it was fine. We enjoyed sharing a space. It definitely wouldn’t work for everyone, but I really miss it now that I’m mostly back in the office.

  64. NoDramaLlama*

    My partner/husband and I did this for a long time earlier in the pandemic and it worked very well for us. What we found was that if we were working in the same room together we tended to chat and distract each other, but as long as we worked out of eyesight of one another we were both physically and mentally in our own space and were able to concentrate and never bothered each other.

    I don’t know if you’ve lived with a partner before, but there are often some growing pains with adjusting to being in the same space all the time, so it may be extra helpful to follow the plan you’ve both set up and keep your spaces very separate while working. Whether or not it feels like it’s too small a space and whether or not you need to trade off days at home is probably going to be more idiosyncratic to your relationship. Personally, I think the best thing you can do is try it out and be easy and willing to be flexible and change things up as time goes on. Both of you working at home may work at first and not anymore as time goes on or just the opposite. And be prepared to let each other know with as much advance notice as possible when you might have meetings, need quiet, etc.

    Good luck!!

  65. JHS*

    My partner and I have a longish bedroom-turned study and working in the same room during the day has worked for us. When we’re on meetings we use headphones, and generally it’s worked out very nicely, especially as our cameras don’t face the other person’s desk. But pre-pandemic and our current jobs, we worked on our PhDs in the same room, so we were always quite comfortable with that arrangement. If your study is big enough, it might be worth trialling that for a week, presuming your work would allow it (obviously if one of you is on the phone all day that’s not much help)?

    I find that it’s not as distracting as being in the office with my coworkers as we mostly get on with our own things, and there’s not so much catch-up chat as in an office.

    I would say the big thing is to have a shared space that you can retreat to at the end of the day, and it sounds like you kind of have that in your living room, as presumably your partner will be leaving work at the dining table and not moving it to the couch. It can be good even to have that during the workday, in that sometimes you just need to get away from your desk for a few minutes to decompress (or in my case today, curse about IT issues), so maybe have your bedroom as the ‘get away from the computer for five minutes’ spot during the workday?

    I don’t think there’s any universal right way to do this, it’s whatever’s right for you, but don’t be afraid to change things up if they’re not working.

  66. Kaboobie*

    While my husband and I were both working from home for about 15 months, it helped greatly that we have a 3-bedroom house where we can each use one bedroom as an office. I feel like using a common space for work which a partner also needed for lunch/breaktime/food preparation would have been very distracting, but I am someone who needs total quiet to focus and YMMV. My husband starts work earlier than I do, so he would eat lunch between 11-12 and watch TV, then I would take my lunch break at noon and do the same. If I had to work in a space he used I would have shifted my lunch earlier, and I sometimes did anyway so we could spend our lunch together.

  67. Nanani*

    There is no real answer to this that an outside party can give. It depends on your work needs and personalities more than anything else.

    For needs, does your place have fast and reliable internet that supports both of you doing whatever it is you need to do? If it gives out when you both try to videoconference, then maybe practicalities like somebody having a regular video call will push the other to be in the office that day. Or maybe not!
    Consider also sound. Are your needs for quiet vs white noise/background music compatible? All the time, even during less frequent but higher intensity aspects of your jobs? If not, that’s also something that could be resolved or alleviated by somebody being in the office on regular days.

    Adding this to all the usual stressors of moving in with someone might be more than you -want- even if you are able to handle it.

    But above all else, please consider safety. If either of your workplaces (or officemates or whatever may be relevant) is flaunting covid protocols please let “not getting ill” be more important than the rest. You only have one set of lungs.

  68. Rex's Mom*

    We have done this for 10+ years without issue. When we bought our house we deliberately bought a four bedroom so we could each have a dedicated workspace. Luckily we are in a market where we could afford to do so. If I am on a phone or video call, I shut the door. We also pull the doors closed at the end of the day, this fosters a nice division of work and home.

  69. Sparkles with a side of Glitter*

    I’ve worked from home with my spouse just a few feet away since March of 2020. He’s in the bedroom, and I’m working in the closet (it’s one of two closets, and it’s huge, no clothes stored in here). The key for us is having a door to close. Also, husband uses headphones almost religiously. Be flex on the working arrangements until you settle into a groove. It’s hard to guess how it’s going to go when it’s hypothetical. We tried various setups until we settled on this one, and still bring up alternatives to make thing even better (like, does he want to set something up in the garage (his idea)?)

    Working together has been so much fun. Thankfully our relationship has always been open, communicative, and humor-based. So we don’t have the same problems others might with saying “the thing” when necessary. He’s actually most likely going back to the office soon, and I’m going to miss him like crazy, while also happy acknowledging that we won’t go through as much toilet paper with him gone during the day.

    1. Manders*

      I also used a walk-in closet as an office while my husband took the good office space in the second bedroom. I second trying to find a space where the door can be closed–my husband’s usually respectful of my work time, but when we were both working from home I realized that he never really understood I wasn’t available to talk unless the door was closed. He’s in a very different line of work than me and in his work culture it’s normal for people to just walk up and launch into a conversation at any time.

      1. Fanny Price*

        I have worked at home since before the pandemic, and my office does not have a door. For my birthday in 2019, my teenager gave me a curtain setup so I have something to close to signal “keep out.” It has helped a lot.

  70. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

    My advice would be work with your environment. If one partner chills more easily, try to have that partner work from a room with a south facing window. If one partner’s VPN is more delicate, try to position that partner closer to the router/on a wired Ethernet connection. Those sorts of considerations.

    My other piece of advice would be to revisit the status quo periodically (I pine for a 3 month review). Make your best effort initially and then try to adjust what’s not working down the line.

  71. AvonLady Barksdale*

    My partner and I both work 100% from home. I was already working from home and using our second bedroom as an office, then he started working from our living room. It was terrible, mostly because we have very different jobs/work styles and my office was also his home gym, so there was a lot of space-swapping. I could no longer enjoy lunch in front of the TV, he thought I was too loud on calls.

    We moved to a 3-bedroom apartment and now we each have our own spaces. He still does some work from the sofa but he doesn’t interrupt me when he wants to work out in the middle of the day. I like noise, he hates it, so I wear noise-canceling headphones. We still have some issues with work styles– sometimes he wants my attention when I have 5 minutes between meetings to eat and pee– but we do ok. We also keep work life and home life separate– after I shut down for the day, I’m all his, and we always have dinner together. We also walk the dog together every afternoon when he’s not in daycare.

    I really value independence and my own space, so it’s been an adjustment for sure. Not having a ton of time truly to myself has been rough, not gonna lie, but the key has been being sure to be vocal about what I want and need.

  72. Contributor*

    My husband and I both worked from home full-time from the start of the pandemic until this past September. We have a small two-bed flat where the “second bedroom” would not fit a double bed and leave room for a bedside table, but we have two small desks and two bookshelves in there. We both have a permanent workspace that way, with extra screens and adjustable chairs. This also meant that we could keep the dining room table for eating, and shut the door on the office to separate “work” and “home.” We remain very passionate about this separation.

    With rare exceptions that saw us in dueling Zooms (and so one of us would temporarily decamp to the dining room table and then come back immediately), we worked in the same room that entire time, and still both work from home a couple days a week (often the same days). That working in the same room included me teaching and recording lectures, as well as him in meetings with a range of stakeholders in his work. People could occasionally hear typing in the background, but it was never an issue. We just got used to the noise in the background and used noise-cancelling headphones to drown out most of it anyway. The only times someone claimed the office for themselves alone was for interviews or things that had to be completely confidential.

    I see other advice to take separate lunch breaks and things, which might work for you, but we did everything together that we could (within reason, around meetings, etc). This also kept the disruptions to a minimum – it was either “work time” or “break time” for everyone so we didn’t distract each other. YMMV, it depends on your relationship.

    From looking at the advice posted, it seems like our experience of intentionally sharing the office space was a bit out of the norm, but it worked for us so I wanted to chime in.

  73. Dbltrbl*

    My husband and I committed to working from home very early on and set up our small spare bedroom as a two person office, complete with multiple monitors on each desk, swiveling desk chairs and, importantly, two sets of noise canceling headphones. Fortunately neither of us is overly meetings heavy, so only once or twice a week do we both have meetings at the same time, in which case one of us unplugs our laptop and heads to another room. I’m in the office twice a week now, and the overall balance of things is really good for us.

  74. Hello*

    A factor that my partner and I never really realized would need to be discussed was how much communication could happen with each other during the work day. It was obvious that we would need to give each other space during calls or meetings, but when I got a question about potato chips during what turned out to be difficult document production I definitely contemplated violence. We realized that being in the house together during work hours was not the same as during non-work hours and needed different boundaries.
    When you go to get a water from the kitchen, would your partner expect you to say hello, or to keep to yourself? Is that expectation always the same? We’ve all read tons of letters here from coworkers who don’t chat with each other enough, or too much, or in all the wrong ways. When your house is your office your housemates are your officemates and all the same rules apply!

    1. Sandman*

      This is EXACTLY what our biggest issue has been. We’ve done the juggling with spaces and the noise-canceling headphones and that stuff is a balance but generally fine. Our biggest issue is that it turns out he’s way more of an extrovert than I am and wants me to be his water-cooler buddy between all his meetings! I’m distracted easily and need to do more focus work than he does right now, so I’m noticing that my productivity is really suffering. I love having him around, but this is something we’re still working through.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Oh yeah. I like to keep my door open for circulation, this does not mean you can hug me while I’m writing an email.

  75. Jean*

    My concern with this would be your internet bandwidth, wifi capabilities, and things of that nature. Make sure you both can maintain good connections while you’re both on. Aside from that, I don’t see any reason why this can’t work, especially if each of you has your own workspace where you can close the door for calls, meetings, etc.

  76. ACA*

    When my then-bf and I were both working from home, usually one of us would work in the guest room/office (usually him, since he took a lot of client calls), and the other would work with a lapdesk on the couch or the bed. It sometimes got switched up during the day: If I had a meeting on-camera or where I’d need to take detailed notes (much easier on an actual desk than a lapdesk!), I’d let him know I needed the office for X amount of time. If I had a meeting or training where I wouldn’t be on camera but still needed privacy, I’d take that in the bedroom, and ask him not to come in while the door was shut.

  77. fort hiss*

    My partner and I both work from home from a townhouse, so not quite as small but not huge. We love working from home together especially when we get to have lunch or take breaks together. But we are also attached-at-the-hip lesbians so YMMV.

    1. Marco Diaz's Red Hoodie*

      High five from another attached-at-the-hip queer couple! My spouse and I have been home together, and only rarely going out, since the start of the pandemic. A few months in my friend texted me and was like “have you two driven each other crazy yet?” Nope. We lived together for 5 years before the pandemic and are still doing fine. Just lucky I guess ^_^;;

  78. Fiona from shrek xoxo*

    It really depends on you. At the start of the pandemic, I worked in a 1 bedroom apartment with my partner and it was not ideal. After we moved and could close a door between us while working it was way smoother. We each have our own room/designated space and have really had no issues. If either of you has meeting heavy jobs, just make sure the other knows so you can not be grinding coffee or something extremely loud during it!

  79. talos*

    1 thing that bothered me is that I had a roommate who worked from, like, 5 am to 1 pm (his choice, and his company let him). I worked a typical 9 to 5 schedule.

    We had separate bedrooms, but it was kind of aggravating for me to be woken up by his 5 am noise (he didn’t usually have meetings then, but just the noise of an awake human) and then for him to ask if I wanted to hang out at 1 pm. No, I still have 4 more hours of work… So then he would watch TV in the living room, which got kind of loud.

    So I guess what I’m saying is be cognizant of your partner/roommate’s work schedule and make sure it’s not radically incompatible with yours.

  80. LabRat*

    I definitely agree with everyone counseling to consistently re-evaluate!

    My husband has been WFH for the last 4.5 years, I only became so in August 2020. We were in a 1 br apartment with the only interior door being the one to the bathroom. Both of our desks were in our living/dining area, and even with noise-canceling headphones and our backs to each other, it was HARD. Not just from being together 24/7, but we couldn’t even have guaranteed quiet space to work, since we both regularly have unscheduled meetings.

    In May we moved to a 2 bedroom apartment with doors (!) and now his office is in the second bedroom and mine is in the living room. Just being in separate rooms has been huge for us. We aren’t disrupting each other’s meetings, I don’t hear every freaking time he gets up, and it’s just easier.

    When my workplace reopens next spring, I’m planning on going in 2 days a week. The commute will give me some alone time, I haven’t met ANY of my coworkers face to face, and I’m an extrovert – I NEED more human interaction! I think we’re both looking forward to that phase.

  81. Mx Burnout*

    My partner and I have worked from home together on and off for about 10 years, in everything from a massive, BIG-style loft that you could have set up an actual skating rink in, to a 400-ft studio, to a smartly laid-out ranch home. A few things can’t imagine doing this without:

    1- my partner and I share a Slack that, when we’re “at work,” we treat like a sort of Upside-Down Work Slack. We use “do not disturb” or other status markers so that we don’t have to message or interrupt the other person for information about, say, whether someone has let the dog out or picked up the package off the front porch.

    2- a strong foundation of mutually respectful communication styles. any road bumps you usually hit when you disagree are going to be magnified x 101010010101 when your economic stability is tied up not just with another person in all the usual ways of partnerships/marriages, but when your economic stability is actually reliant on your partner’s *behavior at home*, which is to say, their *behavior in your workplace*

    3- flexibility on both of your parts, or extreme flexibility on one of your parts. if one of you has a gig that requires total silence and hogging all the internet bandwidth, the other person must be able to accommodate that without resentment, or you both need to find a work-around that’s good for everybody.

    4- clear ‘rules’/signals about what is watercooler time/behavior vs. “at work, don’t @ me”, and what isn’t. i.e., if my partner has their noise-cancelling headphones on even if they’re in our ‘common’ area, I know that means do-not-disturb. similarly, if I’m on the patio chain-smoking through a deadline, they know not to ask me if I’d like to break for lunch. These are things we literally talked about, specifically — you can’t just say “well, when I look busy, don’t ask me about the shopping!” you have to tell each other in detail what “i’m busy” looks like for each of you.

    1. Cranky lady*

      #4 is on point. I work from home full time right now and have a stay at home spouse. Things that would have been a quick text or note on the calendar prepandemic, now become distracting discussions because we are both at home. (Think along the lines of “junior has a dentist appointment “ and “the plumber is coming on Thursday”.)

  82. Annie E. Mouse*

    My partner and I are both full time WFH. Before covid, we were both WFH about half the time, but we’re 100% remote now. We’re lucky to have a good amount of space, so we each have a dedicated office on separate floors which helps tremendously for sound. The biggest takeaway for us has been boundaries between work and home. When we’re in our offices during work hours, we try to act the same way that we would if we were away at physical offices with not popping in and interrupting each other. (e.g. If I wouldn’t have called him in the office for something, I don’t go to his home office about it now.) On the flip, when we log off for the day, we’re off. We did have some honest conversations in the beginning about what was working and what was causing problems, but over the years we’ve settled into a routine that works quite well for us. We’d be pretty happy if we could both stay remote permanently.

  83. Anon Midwesterner*

    My husband and I both work from home full time. We started when COVID hit in a one bedroom, and that was horrible. I took meetings from our porch just to have a semi private space. Now we have a 3 bedroom place and we use two of the bedrooms as offices. It’s completely perfect. I also move around the house with my laptop, sometimes working in the kitchen or living room.

    My number one piece of advice is ensure you have a door between you for meetings. Just one door can make a huge difference. Ensure both of you are comfortable with the other one closing that door when needed.

  84. houseplant champion*

    I work full time remote, and my spouse is a professor who worked fully remote during the pandemic and now goes into the office. He’s only required to be on campus 3 days a week, but he goes in for part of the day each day at my request.

    LW, I would be hesitant at what you’re describing, or plan to spend more office time. We had a 2-bed apartment and we’re currently in a 3-bed townhouse, and it does feel like we’re on top of each other constantly. I will admit that I have a very high need for alone time and total privacy that probably outreaches most people, but it is a lot – a LOT of togetherness.

    What is the rest of your life like? Do you each have separate friend groups? Do you each go out and do solo activities regularly? I think you’re less likely to run into issues if you each maintain an active solo life separate from your relationship, so it’s not that you’re together at work all day (even nominally separated) and then always hang out with the same friends together, etc.

  85. turquoisecow*

    Before the pandemic, Husband worked from home frequently, going to the office about 1-2 days a week (occasionally more) and I worked from home (part time) 100%, going into the office maybe once a month.

    Since the pandemic hit he’s switched to 100% remote and we had a baby and moved to a larger house. He now has an office downstairs while I work upstairs. At Old House, which was smaller, I’d work sometimes from the spare bedroom and the rest of the time from our bedroom, both of which were very close to his office.

    His job involves a LOT of meetings and mine almost none but he’s always had no problem closing the door when he’s got a meeting, or he just doesn’t want the cat to interrupt him (cat would happily laze on his lap or desk for hours if allowed, but he can be distracting during meetings or if Husband is trying to concentrate on something intense). I could see it being annoying if we both had meetings at the same time because even though we had doors, they weren’t soundproof by any means. Some people he Zooms with have deep, loud voices and I can hear them upstairs (our bedroom is above his office) or through the wall into the playroom when I’m with the baby. But it’s not really annoying to me.

    I grew up in an environment where working from home wasn’t a thing so when we first got together it was hard for me to realize that “I’m working” really meant “I’m working,” and not “I’m going to be checking some emails but mostly goofing off (or something like that)”, and it took me a bit of time to get used to the idea that just because he was physically there didn’t mean he was really “home.” Of course you’re both working so you probably won’t have that problem, but you might have a situation similar to you find in an office, where one of you is at a point where you can take a small break and you might want to chat, but the other person is In The Zone and ends up responding with “uh huhs,” and not listening, and this might lead to some minor resentment.

    Agree with everyone who talked about communication being important. When are you starting and ending work? Will you be able to have lunch together, and if so when? Is someone going to go and get lunch, and if so what and when? How do you deal with dinner and any other post-work plans? My husband tends to say something like “I just have one more email to send” at 6:00, and then get caught up in things and now it’s 6:30 and I’m kind of hungry and we still haven’t decided on dinner. So try to plan that in advance if you can – we’ll stop around X time and I’ll (start working on dinner/call the restaurant/ order food from the takeout place) so you don’t end up with resentments.

    Work can spill over to your daily life, too, especially when working from home. How do you handle all that work you’re not getting paid for, like cleaning and cooking and laundry and groceries? All that requires communication – if you can figure that out, working from home is just another aspect to consider. Don’t be afraid to mix it up if you decide the arrangement isn’t working for you because one of you is loud on zoom or another person gets called into “emergency” meetings at 5:30 and can’t start dinner all the time, or he promised to start laundry but got caught up in a project. As long as you communicate it’s all surmountable.

    Good luck!

    1. sofar*

      Yes, start and end times are important. My husband is an extrovert, LOVES having people come over after work. I have the kind of job where my work bleeds over until 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. and into weekends during Q4, and I still need quiet to concentrate and do on-camera stuff during those times. It sucks for me and it sucks for my husband, since I work in the open-concept kitchen/livingroom so he can’t have his guests in that entire space.

      If my husband wants to have people over to make dinner, I make sure I’ve booked a desk at the office that particular day so I can work late, but he can have a life.

      1. turquoisecow*

        Yeah my husband worked at a startup for awhile so there were always late meetings and emergencies he had to get involved in at all hours and when he gets in the zone he forgets about time and forgets that it’s almost 8:00 and I’m hungry. Thankfully his schedule isn’t as bonkers nowadays but it was a shift. Also for awhile I worked a regular 8:30-5 and he often didn’t get started until 10:00, so I’d get home at 5:30/6:00 ready to be done and he still had an hour or so work to do.

    2. Bloopmaster*

      Yes! Yes! Yes! As you note, this isn’t just about arranging your work–it’s also about arranging your lives around work. Early in the pandemic, my spouse and I were both working from home. I was seasoned at WFH, and spouse was not. Our differing understandings and working patterns resulted in us contributing to life maintenance very unevenly. I used my breaks and the odd 5 min here or there to move the laundry to the drier and empty the dishwasher. Spouse used breaks for scrolling social media. This resulted in some resentment on both our parts (I felt resentful that I was doing more work, spouse was resentful that I expected work to be performed on break time.) and needed several conversations before we could work out something that felt fair to us both.

      1. turquoisecow*

        Yeah, it’s an adjustment to think you can do house things during breaks, since you’re in the house. My husband worked from home before I met him so for him it’s no big deal to throw in laundry on his break and then bring it up after work was done. Now that I’ve realized I can fold laundry and get work done, life is so much easier, but it’s definitely a shift.

  86. a thought*

    One other thing is… how is your office? I used to work in an open office with terrible cooling and heating and TONS of interruptions from customers (even though I wasn’t customer facing, they often saw my desk first). So some interruptions from my husband actually leads to fewer total issues than being at work. But if you have a private office in a nice building at work this might be different!

    (Same with factors like dress code/commute time/etc)

  87. Blushingflower*

    some of this is going to depend on your jobs and your work styles
    My husband and I both work from home and while we have other spaces we could work, we both work out of the study. We sit facing opposite walls. Pre-pandemic, when I worked in the office, I had an officemate, so I was used to sharing the space and sharing it with someone who would give me some affection as they passed by was definitely a step up. But there have been periods where he has had a LOT of meetings that drive me a little crazy (having good headphones that can help block that out helps). It has only been a problem a couple of times when I had a call at the same time he did and had to leave the room because my mic was picking him up and distracting the other people on the call. Also since we’re both wearing headphones all day it can sometimes be hard to know when the other person is in a meeting and when they’re just listening to music (also sometimes if he’s in a meeting and I’m tuning him out, he’ll end the meeting and start talking to me without me realizing it).
    At the end of the day, I usually go to the living room to watch TV; he often stays in the study and plays video games, so we have some time apart, which I agree is important. We also try to go for walks together every day, which helps us connect – being in the same space but not paying attention to each other doesn’t necessarily count as togetherness!
    I think the advice to try it for a while and then discuss and adjust as needed is the best plan. Maybe one of you has a meeting-heavy day and goes to the office on that day so as not to disrupt the other, maybe one of you has a day that has no meetings and you normally use that day for heads-down work and that’s a day you could really benefit from being in the office, etc.

  88. HugsAreNotTolerated*

    When the pandemic started I (30ish F) was still living with my long-time roommate (30ish F) and we were both incredibly glad that we were in a 3 bedroom house instead of our old 2b/2b 1080 sq ft apartment because it allowed us to have separate working spaces. Since I worked from home 2 days a week prior to the pandemic I was already set up in the 3rd bedroom/sewing room so I stayed in there and she set up at the kitchen table. This worked well for us because it meant that we weren’t running into each other often and there was a door between us that could be closed if one or the other was on a call. For the first 3 months we’d usually break for lunch at the same time and sit down to eat together and chat about our day. As things wore on that trailed off because we found that then we had nothing to talk about at dinner and also taking a nap during the lunch hour sounded more appealing. After a while we pretty much just pretended that the other didn’t exist during the workday and really only talked after work was done. This helped us to try and keep some kind of boundaries between work and life.
    So my suggestion is to make sure you have some kind of separation between your home and work life even if you’re working from home. I liked that I could close the door to my ‘office’ and not think about work, but I started to resent her WFH set up on the kitchen table at all times because it meant that table was almost useless for eating, crafting, etc.

  89. sofar*

    One thing to consider is that all day is a LONG time to spend in the same space as your partner. If you’re also just moving in together, that’s a big adjustment on it’s own. My husband and I have been married for several years, and being at home together ALL DAY still feels like a lot. I’ve started going back to the office 2-3 days a week just to have that feeling of coming home to my beloved after being apart all day.

  90. kat*

    I used to WFH right next to my old roommate. We have similar music taste so we’d just put on a playlist and get in the zone and kind of forget the other one was there. Both of us do a lot of analytical work and not a ton of phone calls (two different types of engineers) but when we had meetings, we were kind of used to it because of the open office plans that we had come from. But also, we’ve known each other for close to 20 years now and we’d worked together at restaurants and stores and stuff and were kind of already used to each other’s working style. I think trying to work your normal way for like a day or two and then having a frank conversation about how it worked (or didn’t!) with each other will probably be your best bet here, because despite everything that I said, my old roommate and I did have a couple of times where we were like. Okay um, can you stop shaking your leg because the whole room is shaking, or can you turn your headphones down because I can hear that over what we have going on in the speakers. Good luck!

  91. Not playing your game anymore*

    How’s your Internet? When my partner and I both found ourselves working from home, along with my disabled mom and her caregiver… the big issue was our Al Gore era Internet connection (DSL). Mom wanted NetFlix and partner and I had overlapping zoom meetings and things were grim. I had to use my cell phone more times than I could count. We finally had to add a satellite internet connection to keep murder from being done. Partner and I were used to a speedy T3 connection at work, so it was hard. We have sufficient space and it was actually nice to be able to take a break together, so yeah Infrastructure was the biggie.

  92. Meep*

    I am surprised we didn’t fight when we were both working from home. Then again, we were always very independent and used to doing our own thing so being together but separate has always been a thing.

    We did end up moving so he could have his own office not in the spare bedroom, but that was separate of working arrangements.

  93. Been There Done That*

    Hubster and I both worked from home during the pandemic. He was in the study because he spent the entire day in meetings and conference calls so he needed a dedicated space that could be quiet and I started out at the kitchen table. The only thing hard about that was because his study backed up to the laundry room, it really didn’t work to do a load of laundry during work hours. The noise was too much. After about 3 months, I ended up moving to the dining room, because to leave his study he had to pass through the kitchen. Working out of the kitchen meant that the table wasn’t available for meals or snacks without disturbing me.

  94. bay couple*

    We live in a 800sqf 2-bedroom with a baby under 1. My partner has a meeting heavy job and works in the main bedroom at a desk (it’s a tight fit). We also have a desk in our living room next to our couch that I work on. Our baby goes to daycare, but we decided not to put a desk in their nursery. It is actually pretty smooth and works well. I just make sure have clothes from the bedroom if my partner has a meeting heavy day. We can both use the kitchen and restroom without getting in the background view of the other person’s calls. We have different working styles, but haven’t had any issue co-working in our space for the last 1.5 years.

  95. Pool Lounger*

    Something that works in my home: a visual “don’t interrupt now” signal. For us that’s closing a door, but if your space is more open it mighy be a literal sign, or a room divider, or whatever works for you.

  96. Ducky Worshiper*

    A lot of it depends on how many calls and things, like some other readers have said. I have always worked from home (or at least for the past 5 years), but it was new for my partner. We used to have our computers set up in the same room and just have one of us leave for calls but it got too disruptive and honestly we were not good at not wanting to chat to each other. We ended up moving one computer to another room and it has made the work day a lot smoother. It’s also nice because I can shut the door and feel like I have some “me” space. He really doesn’t come into the office at all anymore and that stopped a lot of bickering we were doing earlier in the pandemic.

  97. Aquawoman*

    One thing I’ll note is being around my spouse 24-7 with the majority of that in work mode created a little distance. So, being intentional about alone time AND partner-time is important.

  98. RosyGlasses*

    For us it would depend on how much zoom/phone calls each person is on. I’m on zoom almost all day with various meetings and 1:1s, and I tend to be a loud talker.

    We are in a small 800 sq ft house with a bit of an open space concept. I am very loud on the phone and sometimes even if I’m in the office with the door closed my partner gets irked, so he often will go into his office. In a pinch he’ll work upstairs in our lofted bedroom area, but when our teen son was still living at home (now my office downstairs) and I had to work upstairs with no sound barrier, it drove my husband nuts.

    As we’re looking for our next little rental, we are firmly in the camp of needing an office with a door, and any other workspaces being at the other end of the house.

  99. EGA*

    Partner and I also live in a two bedroom and both work FT from home (I go in about 1-2 per month, he never goes in). I work from the dining table, he works from the home office. Occasionally he can be heard clattering in the kitchen during a lunch meeting, but it has always worked great for us!

  100. Kate*

    Are either of you the type who needs some down time alone? It took me way too long into the pandemic to realize how crucial alone time in the house is for my mental health. If spouse is taking kiddo somewhere, I will literally cancel zoom meetings just to have that time alone.

    1. Hlao-roo*

      This is important! I live alone, but I’ve has a few friends stay with me for long stretches (1 or 2 weeks) at various times during the pandemic. During those visits, there were a few times where one of us would go for a solo walk/run/bike ride so someone got alone time in the house and someone got alone time outside.

  101. Former call centre worker*

    My partner and I are both working from the sofa due to lack of space. It’s fine until we’re both in a meeting/on a call at the same time and then I can’t hear my meeting and go and sit on the bed.

  102. Allison*

    My partner and I also both work from home, because pandemic, and what works for us is having him work at his desk setup in his bedroom, and my workstation is in the living room since I have the smaller bedroom and there isn’t much space for a desk. It also helps that because we have two bedrooms, we can sleep in mine without either of us having to sleep in the same room we work, which is nice – pre-pandemic we would alternate where we slept so sometimes we’d sleep in my room, sometimes his, but he doesn’t want to sleep in what has essentially become his office, unless we need to sleep apart for some reason, or his back hurts and he needs his mattress.

    So yes, two bedrooms is a good setup, if you can afford it. It’s been a saving grace during the pandemic. I can’t imagine having to WFH in the same room as someone else.

  103. Miss Muffet*

    My spouse is back in the office full time but for the many months we were both at home, we shared an office, and occasionally do if they are WFH that day. I’m WFH full time until we get called back into the office.
    The thing that worked for us was to just check in periodically on calls that we’d need to talk a lot in, or would require focus. In that case, one or the other of us would decamp to the dining room for a short period of time. We’d just sorta negotiate who needed the office more – depending on the meeting – are you on camera? Is it a performance convo and you need more privacy? Something where you really need both your screens? It really does just come down to communication.

  104. Krabby*

    My house had, at the height of the pandemic, 4 people working from home at once. Our biggest issue was that one of us is retired and only works on small contract stuff, so he would finish up his day and decide to do home improvement projects.

    I had a chat with him after he decided to loudly reorganize a liquor cabinet while I was terminating someone (and had given everyone advance warning that was happening). After that, it was pretty smooth sailing. I think the biggest thing is having open communication and just flagging to the other party when you have something important happening that you need total quiet for.

  105. It'sABonesDay*

    It definitely would depend on how much of the work is quiet work and how much is meetings. Husband and I were working from home full time from March 2020 through May 2021. He’s a high school teacher and was leading zoom school classes for the bulk of the day, which would have really got on my nerves if our space was smaller, especially when I had meetings during class time. I took over the basement, and he had the spare bedroom on the second floor with the door closed. If we had any other set-up, it would have been a major hassle for both of us.

  106. ArtsyGirl*

    My husband has always worked from home and when the pandemic started I was a fulltime student so my schedule tended to be less fixed than a traditional 9 to 5. It is definitely doable and would suggest that you both invest in some comfortable noise canceling headsets even if you don’t need them all the time, they can make a huge difference. The only other caveat would be your bandwidth and how often you have heavy internet use. I have good internet but have found that when both my husband and I are video conferencing it sometimes lags or becomes unstable. Luckily we rarely need to be in meetings at the same time but it is something to keep in mind.

  107. Chairman of the Bored*

    I was recently in this same situation, only with a 3br dwelling rather than 2br.

    We’re even similar in terms of furnishings; my fiancee wants a traditional desk and I’m happy to work from a Poang chair in the spare bedroom.

    We found it very helpful to do a bunch of test runs before actually moving in together, where we would work from the same place for 2-3 days at a time but with the option to decamp to separate buildings if there was an issue.

    We never encountered any issues that ended a test run early but we did learn a bunch about schedules, lunch preferences, and sound transmission in the space that came in very handy once we made the arrangement permanent.

    I highly highly recommend doing as many test runs as the situation/schedule permits and actively discussing what did or didn’t work after each one.

  108. HugeTractsofLand*

    My partner and I shared a tiny studio in NYC (~400 sq ft) and both worked from home. Everyone has their own preferences, but the biggest factors driving us were 1) my work required dual monitors, and 2) my work had way more Zoom meetings. Because I needed a place to put my monitors, I used our one table while my bf chose to work on the couch. Because I had Zoom meetings, my space was set up so it got more sunlight, AND I angled myself so the couch (where my bf liked to sprawl out) wasn’t ever in view. Because we both were way over to the “left” of the space and the kitchen and bathroom were to the “right”, we both had a clear path to get to those areas where we wouldn’t have to cross each other.

    Whenever my bf wanted to do a meeting with video, he’d ask if he could use my table setup, and whenever possible I’d say yes and just swap to more email-centric work on the couch. We both compromised and communicated. When our meetings overlapped, I took more than a few meetings from the bathtub with all the obvious shampoo cleared out of the way; I just did it for meetings where it didn’t matter (with my casual-vibes team), and prefaced the first couple times with a joke: “this is my NYC office!”. We would give each other a heads up about meetings so that one of us wasn’t peeing with the door open or using the blender. My bf got noise canceling headphones. It was also important for us to be clear about “hey, I’m still working” if the other person was bored and wanted to chat.

    All to say, you definitely can make this work! Figure out what matters the most for your work to be successful and then talk about it with each other. We ended up loving our setup.

  109. Bookworm*

    I think this is very much a “test it out” scenario where even the best advice from here might not apply to your situation in the end. I think it may be worth keeping the option of going to the office open, if only for reasons such as reliable internet, just to get out of the living space, etc. Lots of people have had to make this adjustment and varies.

    Good luck! A few years ago a landlord straight up turned me down as a roommate because they WFH and wanted someone who would worked in an office. Disappointing, but I also somewhat wonder what it’s like for them now, if they’re still WFH, etc. Hope it does work out for you, no matter what your configuration eventually looks like!

  110. Zoomer*

    My partner and I have been working partially to fully at-home for a decade. We used to live in a 500 square foot one bedroom apartment — and that DID feel like we were always on top of each other. He was squashed into the dining room next to a dining table that was already too big for the room. I was squashed into a living room that was really too small to also include a desk. Neither of us felt like we could truly walk away from work because work was in our living spaces. (It was only a slight improvement over my old, even smaller apartment where the only space for my desk was in my bedroom.)

    Then we moved into a 2 bedroom apartment with triple the space. One bedroom is an office/study, we both have our desks in there, and there is plenty of room that it doesn’t feel like we’re crammed together. We can walk away from the office and relax in the living room when we’re done for the day. It’s such a HUGE improvement over our previous space. (Neither of us need to be talking on the phone much for our jobs, so we can easily tune each other out, which probably also helps.)

    So: it depends. How much space do you have, how much do you need, psychologically, to be able to keep work separated from relaxation time, etc. Your space described above sounds a lot like our space, and it works great for us. Even more so since you’re planning to still work in separate rooms (we’re just not comfortable spending long hours hunched over a laptop in the dining room).

  111. Yorick*

    It depends on the setup of your place. In my old two-bedroom apartment, my husband had the second bedroom as his office/music studio and I had a desk in the living room. When we started working from home, it was just ok. He had a private space but I didn’t and I felt like I couldn’t be away from him. Even if he wasn’t talking to me or anything, he was passing by me to go to the kitchen for coffee or whatever. We ended up moving to a three-bedroom apartment and it’s much better.

    If your space is such that the two of you won’t need to cross each other’s paths too much, then it could be fine. But if one or both of you is out in a common space, it might start to wear on you.

  112. Philly Redhead*

    I think what works is going to vary by couple. It didn’t bother me at all to be working at home at the same time as my husband. I had been used to working at home by myself, as I was allowed two remote days per week before COVID, but I didn’t find it difficult at all to adjust to working from home with him there as well.

  113. hbc*

    It’s *so* variable and situational and specific to each person/couple. And not necessarily at all predictable. I’m an introvert who usually needs alone time, but for some reason my husband doesn’t count as people when he’s working quietly. We shared a small dorm room for a year with zero problems. But (mumble something) years later, I’d probably strangle him if we were both home full time in a two bedroom, because he’s got about 6-9 hours of meetings a day and in most of them he’s got to project Enthusiastic Leader and it’s simply Too Much.

  114. I miss WFH*

    My spouse and I did this (in a very similar physical set-up, it sounds like) from March 2020-August 2021. Other readers have already given some great, practical tips so I’ll skip those because they’re the same things I did, but just wanted to jump in and say that our year of WFH together was SO. FREAKING. FUN. It took a lot of trial-and-error and communication, of course, but it was truly very fun to goof off with my person over lunch, chat between meetings, and have an environment that kind of mimicked a coworking space. There are plenty of “OMG will this arrangement make me crazy and/or cause everything to implode?” moments and questions to consider, but I wanted to chime in with the perspective that not only can it work well, it can be emphatically amazing on all fronts!

  115. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

    Its going to depend on what type of work you do and how well you get along and respect each others boundaries. During the shut down I can remember my boss video chatting me thru teams and you could see his spouse working at her desk across the room in the background and their kids were somewhere else in the house home schooling. Seemed fine at the time. If one or the other of you takes a lot of calls or zoom meetings, then being in the same room might not be as easy. Or if one of you likes to listen to music while working and one of you can’t stand the others taste in music. The big things to watch out for is if one person starts to feel like its to much togetherness, does the other person respect that and give them a little more space/me time? or double down on the interrupting? I once shared a 1 bathroom house with 2 other adults and 5 small kids for 6 months. While we got thru it, and there was real moments of joy in the chaos, I thoroughly enjoyed after they moved out and I used the bathroom without hearing someone knocking on the bathroom door.

  116. All Het Up About It*

    My partner mostly goes in, but we easily shared our office room last year when we were working more at home. The question here is two fold:
    1) Can you physically share the office some so you two are possibly more comfortable/productive when at home? If you both don’t have that many meetings/calls or deal with sensitive info, you could probably share that room more than you are planning on – with the option to break off to work at a table when more privacy is needed, which is great!
    2) Do you need just more of a “break” from each other… that’s going to vary couple to couple. I like being away from my partner and coming back together to talk and discuss about our day, but two of my dear friends who are a couple LOVE spending much more time together and need less time away. I think it might be more of a trial and error as you adjust as a couple and a couple who live together.

  117. JLZ VRN*

    I had a very similar experience recently – my partner and I moved into a relatively small two-bedroom together a few months ago, after I’d been living alone in a 1-bedroom and he lived with a roommate, and I had many of these worries as well, so I understand where you’re coming from. Our current setup is that my desk is in the living room, and his desk is in his bedroom (we have our own bedrooms because we’re both sensitive sleepers). I work fully remotely and have no office to return to, while my partner has a local employer and lately has been going into the office around once a week, but usually works from home.

    Before we moved in together, we discussed a bunch of possible setups – initially I was going to get a coworking space membership, but that fell through, so typically we’re both working from home most days. At present, we’ve found a system that seems to work – in the morning we’ll check in with each other about whether we have any calls/meetings, and both wear headphones during them. Since we don’t work in the same room, it’s easier for us to take calls and not bother the one another as much.

    In any case, here are some tips:
    – Definitely have a conversation with your partner before moving in to specifically discuss work schedules and needs (if you haven’t already), including topics like when you typically start/end your work day, if you have any important recurring calls that you need Silence for, or any other specific needs
    – Having a secondary space to take calls (so you’re not stuck in a room with your partner on a loud call when you need to focus or vice versa) will help reduce friction
    – As mentioned upthread, it’s an iterative process – once you actually move in, you can try a bunch of different setups, work out problem areas, and see how it feels

  118. Betty (the other betty)*

    Does either of you spend a significant amount of time on phone calls, video meetings, or listening to audio for work? If yes then you may want to consider working at home on opposite days.

    If not, it sounds like your setup will be fine for you to work at home together (and it might be nice to be able to take lunch together, both be done at the same time, etc.).

    My spouse and I work together although we are often doing separate tasks and projects. We used to have our “office” on one wall of our small apartment living room. It was ok. Now we have a house and both share the office. Our desks are spaced apart (as much as they can be in a smallish room) so we are right on top of each other. It’s fine. Sometimes I move my computer to another room if I’m writing and need silence.

    Be open to change, and have check-ins to talk about what’s going well and what isn’t. You can always adjust later.

    1. Betty (the other betty)*

      Oops. meant to say that our desks are spaced apart so we are NOT right on top of each other.

      Although 6 feet apart isn’t far, it beats having our chairs bumping. :)

  119. Temperance*

    I’ve been WFH almost exclusively since March 2020, as has my husband.

    We both work from our home office most of the time. When I have a lot of meetings, I’ll go into our bedroom or our living room so we have space from each other. We’ve been together for a long time, though, and living together since shortly after we started dating, so “together” is kind of our default at this point. You and your partner will have to figure out what works best for the both of you after you move in.

    If one of us is grabbing a snack or tea or coffee, we’ll offer to the other as well.

  120. Madison*

    If you have the option of still going into the office, definitely keep that open. It sounds like your partner doesn’t, so you may find that they end up taking the separate office if they’ll be the one with no choice but to work from home full-time. I know from experience that an office set-up on a kitchen table can be desperately uncomfortable, but maybe other people have had better experiences with it. My partner and I both work from home full-time too, but we’re very lucky to have two separate dedicated office spaces and I definitely wouldn’t give that up now that I’ve gotten used to it. If you’ve never lived together before either, I wouldn’t be surprised if you end up feeling like you’re stepping on each other’s toes no matter how careful you are. Don’t be surprised if you end up back in your office full-time by choice before too long!

    1. Hlao-roo*

      Seconding the option of going into the office, and adding that it may be an adjustment. I hosted a friend a few months ago, and during the week that they were visiting I went into the office so we wouldn’t be in each other’s hair all day. I was surprised how tired I was after a few days working in the office in a row! When my friend left, I went back to working mostly from home but I think I would have adjusted in another week or two if I kept going into the office full time.

  121. Staja*

    My husband and I have both been home for the past year – he works at the dining room table and I work in our loft. (Due to setup, he has to be at the table to plug in his phone) I’ve also worked in our study, but since I’m in school, too, I couldn’t do work, school, hobbies all in one room without losing my mind.

    My recommendation – invest in decent headphones/headset. My husband really enjoys talk radio during the day and since he hates his job, it’s a small pleasure for him. I, however, hate it, so even just keeping my headset on helps me ignore the droning! He also doesn’t need to hear my show tunes, either.

  122. Been there, done that*

    My husband worked from home for the eleven years prior to COVID so he had claim on the “home office”. When I started working from home in March of 2020, it was a little bit of an ajustment at first (PLUS two college kids who were suddenly back in our once empty nest, taking classes online). I worked in a corner of our bedroom because the main area of our home is open concept so there is little to no privacy or guaranteed quiet. (We have multiple animals as well) We made it work for the 18 months that I was working from home full-time by communicating and respecting each other’s schedules. I am now working a hybrid schedule with the option to work from home up to 50% of the time but I usually end up coming into the office and actually enjoy having the space to spread out again and not having to manage my schedule around his. Honestly, I always felt like I was invading his space a little bit during the day since that had been his “territory” for so long but that wasn’t because he ever did anything to make me feel that way; obviously it’s my house too and I have just as much right to be there. But it was just my thing.

  123. PolarVortex*

    I’d recommend laying out – if you don’t already have it – clear boundaries. Sometimes family/partners are the type to constantly knock on the door and check in with you even though you are clearly working. Make sure you both have clear rules about what interfering with a workday looks like and what can interfere with your workday – eg the heat death of the sun is a reason to interrupt my work, not wanting to know if I know where the AAA batteries are.

    And repeating the above, time apart. Being in the same house with each other all the time even if you’re in different rooms is a lot. Make time for yourselves too, hopefully outside the house if you can manage it.

    Good luck.

  124. Berlie Girl*

    Both my boyfriend and I work from home in the same house. We have been doing this for a couple of years now. We each have our own office across the hall from each other. We occasionally have lunch together in the kitchen and pass each other in the hall on bathroom breaks and sometimes chat during the day. He is often taking meeting calls. I wear noise-canceling headphones that I listen to music on. Not really because he is too loud, I just focus better with them.

    It actually works out very well for us. I enjoy not being alone during the day and if anything it has strengthened our relationship. And it has improved my working habits. He has recently been going into the office once a twice a month. When he is not here, I find I slack off a bit (I am self-employed so no boss to yell at me if I slack).

    I do not think it would work as well if we did not each have our own space where we can close the door if needed. I have a do not disturb sign I put on my door if I feel the need to have zero interruptions.

    Also, we have 5 cats. They cause more of a distraction than he does!

  125. Paranonymous*

    In early pandemic days, we both suddenly worked from home after working 100% in office prior to that. We already each had our desks in a shared office (spare bedroom) which worked fine at the time, since things slowed down at work for both of us, and we would leave the room to take phone calls (we both work with confidential information). I went back to the office last summer (not by choice) and he stayed in the office.

    I recently got a new job where I primarily work from home and do a fair amount of video conferences. He has also started doing video hearings, so I moved my desk into our guest room so we could each have a separate space and not “be in” each other’s meetings. (To be honest, the rooms are right next to each other and we can still hear each other pretty well.) I wouldn’t mind having more space but it works and we’re lucky to both have a room with a door that closes. We were already hoping to find a bigger house next year, so now we’re factoring in office space.

  126. Amber Rose*

    Husband and I often happily work side by side at the kotatsu, which is a sleeping hazard if I’m alone but works nicely with both of us keeping each other honest.

    That said, his job is largely silent and my job is sometimes very not, and I know on days when I’m extra noisy it gets a bit trying for him. At those times I retreat to the office. So really it’s kind of a play it by ear thing, and different days require different accommodations.

  127. Jennie*

    This is definitely a situation that calls for patience and grace on everyone’s part. When my husband and I first started working from home he moved into my home studio because it was better set up for work. He thought it would be fun working together in a shared space, and I was open to that. It lasted 45 minutes, which is how long it took him to get on his first conference call.

    His calls lasted for hours, a lot were on video and I felt massively uncomfortable listening in and I wasn’t getting the quiet focus time I needed (I worked from home pre-pandemic and had systems that worked for me, this was new to him and he needed time to figure things out). I ended up decamping for the dining room table, which had its own issues when I needed to be on a call and he’d wander through in his work pajamas while I was on video. We ended up repurposing another room that is my own private office and things are much better now, but it took time and some hurt feelings along the way.

    I’d look into getting a minifridge and set up a snack area in the office area of your new space so the other person isn’t constantly going into your space enroute to the kitchen to make coffee, etc.

  128. Campfire Raccoon*

    I’ve been working from home in one capacity with my husband for years. When we worked for different companies we utilized different rooms. Now we both run his(our?) company – and let me tell you – he’s almost met his end a few times. His idiomatic expressions? Hearing them over and over all day to different customers? He’s lucky I love him: I’m sure he feels the same way about me. BUT – we’ve been classmates then friends then housemates before becoming a couple. I’ve known him for 20 years and we’ve always worked well as team. Since this is the first time you’ll be living together, give each other space, time, and when necessary- forgiveness. Have a backup plan for those days you need your space, or a quiet place to work, or just to get out of your house. A common convo in our house is,
    “Hey, you gonna be in the field today?”
    “Do you need me to be in the field today?”
    “Yes.”
    “Looks like I’m burning down the schedule. I’ll be back by 1.”
    “Bring tacos and chocolate.”
    “Will do.”
    Your situation is obviously different, but recognizing ahead of time there will be pitfalls is the best way to avoid partner burnout. Good luck! You can do it!

  129. Cookies for Breakfast*

    As others have already said, the two of you will be the best judges of what works and what doesn’t. That said, from my experience, this is a positive:

    “Technically we can continue to work from home in our current pattern, in separate rooms, without having to interrupt each other during the work day.”

    My partner and I spent the first year of the pandemic in a very small one-bedroom flat, and the only space both of us could use was the living room. For the first 4 months or so, we were even sharing the same sofa all day (then, I was able to get a desk that fit in a corner of the room). We’ve been together many years, make a good team, and communicate very well. Even so, being in close quarters all day has had its challenges. When his workload halved and mine tripled, I would be caught in a loop of 8-hour meeting days and nervous breakdowns, and he’d be playing videogames right behind me (happy you can relax, sweetie, but please for the love of god take the initiative to cook and clean!). Some of our video calls were at the same time and we’d have to toss a figurative coin for the good internet connection spots. He’s probably heard way too many of my work conversations than he’d have wanted, though headphones helped, and I hated subjecting him to that. I still wouldn’t swap any of the time with him with commuting to the office, eating alone and spending all day with my coworkers: the one saving grace of these whole 18 months was knowing a loved one was always near, even on the most hopeless of days. But I’d lie if I said sharing spaces has been as easy as it used to be when he was going out on regular client visits and I only worked remotely 2 or 3 days.

    We now live in a bigger house, and are planning home offices with proper equipment in two separate rooms. We are already able to work in completely separate spaces and it’s making all the difference. Some days, we don’t run into each other until we plan to take a break together or we’re both done working, and so we’re sure that, when we’re in a shared space, it’s because we’ve been seeking the company. If that’s something you’re aiming for, separate workspaces should at least begin to take care of it. All the best for your new living situation, hope you have lots of happy moments ahead :)

  130. tinyhipsterboy*

    I’ve been WFH since… 2017 or so, I think? My partner’s been WFH since around a year later or so. We almost never have calls other than a morning call we’re both on every few weeks, though, so take all this with a grain of salt.

    Our first apartment was a one-bedroom, so while he didn’t work from home then, it still did feel a bit cramped with me on the dining room table and his computer in the living room. When we moved to a two-bedroom and he started WFH, we used one bedroom as a joint office and the other as our actual bedroom, which was fine; we didn’t feel on top of each other, but we also made it a point to not interrupt each other too often (videos, memes, random questions, etc.), keeping most of our communication through Discord during the day. That might not work if the second bedroom is small or if you guys need to be on calls, though.

    Now that we have separate offices in a 3-bedroom, it’s a bit easier, but the basic idea is the same. Sometimes he’ll come in to check on the dog or to talk to me about something (pop culture, dinner plans, family stuff, random internet things), but for the most part we stay separate until after work. If one of us goes to talk to the other but we’re busy, we’ll just let each other know, and headphones help if we need to tune sounds out. The big thing, really, is just limiting interactions with one another so it doesn’t feel like we’re around each other 24/7 and we’re not interrupting each other.

    After working on a laptop at my dining table for a year, though, I do suggest getting a desk and proper chair or something for wherever your workspace ends up being. It helps feel like a Real Place to sit and work (even if you use it for non-work as well), and it’s easier on your wrists and on posture. Like many other commenters have said, too, make sure to discuss it and be communicative as things continue. You can always work on it a bit more if you have to. Good luck!

  131. Jess*

    There’s a reason Virginia Woolf wrote “A Room of One’s Own” and not “Eh We’ll Probably Manage”.

    1. Foila*

      Hahaha that is 100% true, but also probably coming from a context of different expectations – the “angel in the house” wasn’t supposed to have a job at all, was supposed to be totally responsive to the needs of her family at all times, ideally didn’t have much personality of her own… Woolfe might not have had to lock the door if the (hypothetical) household truly respected the value of her intellectual work and understood that the only reason to come in during work hours was to quietly bring her a snack and then get out.

  132. The Other Katie*

    Honestly, it’ll probably be fine. I’d strongly recommend noise-cancelling headsets for both of you. Also consider whether you need to upgrade your Internet connection beyond what you normally would, especially if you both expect to spend a lot of time on conference calls.

  133. PearlySweetcakes*

    Consider bandwidth! I got kicked out of a zoom meeting because my husband started uploading a thousand image files to his work at the same time. We had to get better at communicating meetings and uploads and such.

  134. Gracely*

    There are so many factors that it’s probably not anything anyone here can definitively say you should or shouldn’t do. Things to keep in mind:
    -How introverted/extroverted are you both? Do you need alone time to recharge? Do you need time around people to recharge?
    -What does working from home involve for each of you? (speed of internet/frequent or infrequent meetings/lots of phone calls or not/space needs/noise levels you each create & are able to tolerate/etc.)
    -Are you going to break for lunch at the same time? Do you have similar hours or does it vary?
    -Do you each have a space that is not designated for work to spend your time in when you’re not working but the other person still is?(this is something my spouse and I discovered we needed, as it was important to mentally clock out of work, and we had differing work hours).
    -Who handles which errands that involve leaving during the daytime and/or meeting with service people/doorbell ringers/deliveries/etc.

    And just in general, you’ll need to check in with each other and be very straightforward about anything the other is doing that grates on your nerves. Use your words–do not assume they know they are bothering you. Do not assume you know if you’re bothering them. Proactively ask if the other needs space OR more time together.

  135. Salad Daisy*

    My husband and I both worked from home for a while, me full time and him a few days a week. We each had a dedicated “office” space, really just a desk, but they were not in the same room. We got together for coffee breaks and lunch, just like we were colleagues working in an office. Otherwise we basically did our own thing. It worked out very well.

  136. WellHere'sTheThing, Janice*

    Partner and I have been permanent WFH for 2 years now. Our old setup was a 1 bedroom apt and our desks were on opposite walls in the living room with our backs to each other but sound was a frustration – we both need to occasionally take conference calls and sometimes there was some overlap. We ended up moving to a 2 bedroom and using the 2nd bedroom as an office for him, where he takes the dog (I’m on the phone more frequently and want to avoid any loud barking to my poor clients) and shuts the door. We communicate only through Discord, even when he comes out and makes lunch, to make it “feel” like a workday. When the day is done, my work computer (which is also my play computer) gets rebooted to “end” the day.

    It sounds like you have got a great setup and boundaries between work and home life!

  137. CatMeow*

    My partner and I both work from home in a small 1 bed apartment and it’s completely fine. We use the bedroom and kitchen for work and alternate.

  138. Kaden Lee*

    My fiancé and I have been living together and working from home all pandemic. My desk is in the bedroom, his is in the kitchen. It is less than ideal since it means I’m cooped up in the same room all day and most of the night and when I do go to the kitchen for a snack I’m interrupting him, but that’s related to our specific situation. If you can have dedicated work spaces that aren’t in the kitchen or bedroom I think it will be a lot smoother.

  139. TinyLiving*

    Coming at you from a fairly small space here – 900 sq/ft, both of us working full time remote for nearly two years, and both of us on calls for 75% of our days.

    The biggest key here is to carve out a second space that you can dedicate as an office nook, even if not a dedicated room. For the second office space, see if there’s anywhere you can carve out – you’d be shocked at how little space a dedicated desk requires. I had the “office” which was a 5×8 sunroom space, and partner put his desk under the stairs, in the living room. You mention your partner is okay with using the dining room, but is there enough space to put up a room separator in the dining room and put in a desk instead? That way they don’t feel like they’re taking up the table, and leaves the area free of office clutter. It also really separates that space mentally so they’re going to their “office” in the morning.

    There were a few times it was inconvenient since I couldn’t run my coffee grinder if they were on a call, but it really did feel like we were both clocking into work, didn’t talk to each other during the day, and then were able to shut down in the evening and spend time together. The bonus part was occasionally throwing a sandwich at the other person if one of us was on meetings all day.

  140. Nowwhat465*

    We just bought a place and moved back in together after a few years of distance.

    He gets the office/spare bedroom as a PhD and Teaching Fellow, he has way more books and odd hours than I do. I have set aside the back half of our living room to be my work area as most things I do just involve a few computer screens and I typically work 9-5. We wanted to keep our bedroom as a space where no work exists. Always have a room that no work exists so you can decompress afterwards!

    It took awhile for him to realize I’m not just in the living room and working, I am working and just happen to be in the living room. We had to do a lot of communicating about schedules, when and what I can be interrupted with (same for him). And we still do a lot of texting even though we’re only 30 feet away from each other to make sure the other person has time to talk or can have background noise if someone is cooking.

    We’ve also gotten good at keeping our work contained to the work areas. Though he may bring his notes in the dining room so he can study while meal prepping, and I’ll occasionally do my EOD emails from the couch; as soon as we’re done work goes back to the work location so we can have the rest of our space to ourselves.

    Also whatever internet package you think you need, just up it to be safe. Ours was a $7 difference and TOTALLY worth it.

  141. llamasoda*

    My spouse and I both work from home and share an office in a spare bedroom. It is totally fine and generally enjoyable! We never have calls at the same time, so when one of us is on a call, the other leaves the office to take a walk or do a chore in another part of the house. Our chats throughout the work day are brief and limited; I think I talk to him less than I did to coworkers in an outside-the-house office. (Our jobs have little in common.)

    Our office is set up with separate desks, filing cabinets, shelves, and lamps. The only things we share are an internet connection and a printer. I use headphones when I want to listen to music or need to watch a video and so does he. I don’t find it much different from sharing an office with a coworker!

  142. Femme Cassidy*

    I’m in seminary and my partner is a consultant who was working from home most of the time even before COVID. We chose a two-bedroom apartment when we moved in together so we could work in the same room. Because I really only have to be on calls for classes, we’re usually just both in the room when one of us is on a call. For the times when we’ve both had calls at the same time, it’s been a kind of case by case thing. When I had a class at 8:30 in the morning, he took his 9 am call from the dining room table. When he’s deep in work mode and I have a class coming up, I’ll just pop out to the table myself.

  143. anonymous73*

    Pre COVID, my husband never worked from home. He works for the government and for security reasons there are only so many things he can access from home. I WFH full time, and we have 2 desks in our office, so sometimes (like right now) we’re both working from home. If I have a meeting where I have to be on camera, he goes in the other room, but otherwise it works (in fact his desk is behind mine and he forgot to get something from his computer the other day while I was on an interview, and he had to mission impossible his way over there on the floor and stay off camera LOL). We do live in a mid sized house, but there’s really not another designated space that’s easy to work in, but we can make it work if needed. I think you just need to work through it and be flexible – see what works for you.

  144. AnonAgain*

    And know there’s a limit to how long an Ethernet cable can effectively be. I don’t know the length, but do know it effected where an employee could set up at home. People with more tech knowledge than me may have work around to this

  145. tooclose*

    Not sure if this has already come up, but my partner and I have a trick we sometimes use: We talk about our “coworker” instead of saying “you”. i.e., I might say to him, “My coworker has been leaving the kitchen dirty after he eats lunch – do you have any ideas about how I could address that with him?” It helps us side-step any blame/defensive parts and move on to the brainstorming/troubleshooting phase.

    We’ve been working at home together since 2017, often in the same room and sometimes even at the same table.

    1. Tris Prior*

      LOL, I came here to post this. Our imaginary co-worker is named F’ing Karen and she gets the blame for not refilling the brita pitcher or using up all of the TP without replacing the roll. It does help!

  146. Drago Cucina*

    You may want to strategically think about the day of the week you go into the office. For me a Wednesday works well. My husband goes into his office on Wednesdays and the break in the middle of the week is just right. It breaks any irritation I have from his too loud calls and meetings. He has a *presentation* voice in meetings and it goes through walls. I use headphones with mic whenever we both have meetings, but sometimes….

  147. Squeakrad*

    My husband and I worked from home from March 16, 2020 until he just retired a month or so ago. We live in a small one bedroom and he took the kitchen table and I took the corner computer. Given that for some months of those we were in lockdown, we spent almost all of our time together. I don’t know that I would’ve chosen to move in together and work together if that was our first time living together, but we actually got along better than me sometimes Do. Knowing that any problem would be magnified by having to spend all our time together, we actually talked more than we used to and worked out a number of smaller issues it been annoying but not a super problem.

    If you have the option to go to work more often, without compromising your safety, I say go for it! But if that isn’t a comfortable option for you, then I would think more about it.

  148. DrSalty*

    I would say be cognizant of the need for alone time and be proactive about scheduling time for just yourself/your partner to be in the apartment alone. Be prepared to have conversations about it openly and without being defensive.

  149. Metadata Janktress*

    So my husband and I spent the pandemic in an one bedroom on top of each other, which SUCKED. That being said, if we had truly separate spaces like what OP described, it wouldn’t have been that big of a deal. The only thing I’d want to check is if there’s stuff like presentations or other things where they may not want to be overheard. I now work in the office again while he still works from home and if he has later calls, I’ll either come home much later or make a point to be on loud headphones. OP might want to go into the office those days so they have absolute privacy. But yeah, communication is going to be the big thing here and they can always check in as they go.

  150. sara*

    I’ve never done it from a work-from-home perspective or with a romantic partner, so take this with a grain of salt.

    But I was roommates with a coworker (different teams, we only occasionally crossed paths professionally, no power imbalance, etc.) and we made a decision to always have different days off (it was a place where we never had Sat/Sun weekends). This meant that we both got time alone at home and also time away from the other person. And then we were super excited to have a rare day off together, like on stat holidays or other weird scheduling changes.

    If you’re used to being home alone most of the time, you might like it if you have a day at home alone like you’re used to. Or you might miss having your partner around, I guess it just depends!

  151. Priya*

    I’ve been living in a 2-bedroom with my sister since late 2019, and we have both of our desks side-by-side in the living room area. It took some getting used to, but when we were both working from home full-time, we’ve done a pretty good job of respecting each other’s defined space and time — a good set of headphones really helps with keeping distractions to a minimum. Of course, we’d chat throughout the day and eat meals together, but a simple “Now’s not a good time, I’ll check it out in a minute” when we’re heads down on something is enough to keep things from spiraling. The only annoyance we’ve run into is when we both have meetings at the same time — in those times, we take turns taking the meeting call in my bedroom (where the signal is still strong enough).

    Now that she’s been going in-person 2-3 days a week, I do appreciate truly having my own space more, though I miss the body-doubling benefit I get from just being next to another working human. In non-pandemic times, I would make it a point to work from a local coffee shop for the change of pace, but these days, I pretty much stay at home 24/7, which can feel like the world is shrinking down around me — I’d keep the option to work from the office open for that reason.

  152. EH*

    When my partner and I moved in together, it was into a cute two bedroom townhouse style apartment. He took the second bedroom and I set up my office in the dining room, which was adjacent to the kitchen. He worked from home full time, I worked from home a couple days a week and then full time.

    Never again.

    I found it profoundly distracting to have someone walk through my field of vision 4-5 random times a day for snacks/drinks/whatever. I don’t handle open office plans well for the same reason.

    The next time we moved, we got a a house with three little bedrooms, so we each have an office. We’re both working from home full time since the pandemic and I would have lost my mind by now if we were still in our old place.

    A person who’s fine with open-office plans would probably be fine not having a room to themself, but that’s not me. :) My advice is to think and talk about it a lot, and be open to making changes if/when they’re needed.

    1. Gary Patterson's Cat*

      Maybe one could divide the office by putting in a partition of some type? IDK?
      My husband complains I am too loud on my calls. I try not to be, but it was also that way in open offices and I used to have to constantly get up and move into a call room.

  153. Gary Patterson's Cat*

    We are a 2 person, 2 cat household in a smallish 3 bedroom Cape-Cod style house.

    You’d think this would be enough, but it isn’t. I’ve been working from home since early 2020 and my husband just recently got a new job where he’s been WFH doing a lot of Zoom training as part of his onboarding. We have one dedicated office we share, but feel on top of each other–and he complains I am too loud! But a lot of this is due more to the poor layout of the house and a third upstairs “bedroom” that is really more like an attic than functional room, and this is where Hubs relocated to recently for work. Fortunately, this is temporary and he will eventually be out in the field at various customer sites.

    I suggest that if you are both going to be WFH on a permanent basis, you each have your own dedicated offices (even if it’s a tiny office like a converted closet) to ensure privacy and quiet. I know that is hard to find, but if noise bothers you at all, it’s a must for working 8hours/5days a week.

  154. Jules the 3rd*

    My husband and I wfh 100%. I have calls, he doesn’t, but I am (mostly) 9 – 5, he is more flexible.

    I have an office with a door that closes. It is a marriage-saver. I’m on 4 hrs of calls today, 7a – 5:30p, and he doesn’t want to hear all that. I also don’t want him wandering in to show me the Latest Cool Thing while I’m trying to contribute to financial reporting drafts.

    He is currently in the dining room, but it’s not the best. He would be better off with a room whose door can close. We’re working on it.

    There’s a constant tug between ‘I want to be with the person I love’ and ‘I need uninterrupted time to get work done’, so be very very very mindful of his concentration while he’s working in the dining area. Don’t make any bids for his attention, don’t get mad if he can’t respond to your bids for his attention, be patient. We’ve been in this config for a couple of years (including having the teen kid share his workspace last year for school), and still married, so it’s do-able, but it requires thoughtfulness, consideration, and patience.

    Good luck!

  155. criwrewr*

    A few things to consider:
    * How often do you each take work or personal calls during the day?
    * How loud are your calls & meetings? Do either of you prefer to use ear buds vs. not?
    * Do either of you have frequent or occasional outbursts (“Are you kidding me?!”)?
    * Do either of you do any work that’s confidential or that requires discretion?
    * Do either of you prefer to have noise in the background (music, podcasts, tv)?
    * How will you handle interruptions by the other (“Do you need anything while I’m out?” “The plumber will be here in a hour.” “What do you want for dinner?”)?

    In my case, we have separate work spaces, don’t need to interrupt each other very often (once every couple of weeks, maybe), & close the door to our work spaces to signal that we cannot be disturbed. We’ve been WFH since March 2020 & so far, no major issues. Good luck to you!

  156. Keyboard Cowboy*

    I think for a successful two-people-working-from-home setup, you need 3 rooms (maybe 4, depending on how well your sleep schedules align): two separate (with walls and doors that close) workspaces and a kitchen/break space. The optional 4th is a bedroom – if one of you wakes up much earlier than the other, or works very different hours from the other, then using the bedroom as a workspace probably won’t fly.

    At the beginning of the pandemic, my partner and I both worked from home at what had been our gaming desk setup – two desks separated only by an Ikea KALLAX (possibly my favorite piece of furniture on the planet), in the living room which was adjacent to the kitchen (postage stamp San Jose townhouse). That was awful. Partner and I both have desk jobs, which require ~5-10 hours of meeting per week, but if we had meetings at the same time it was awful; if one had focused work time when the other had a meeting, it was awful; if one was bored when the other was engaged, it was awful. Later I moved my laptop up to a small desk in the guest bedroom, which was a lot better, but my partner was still adjacent to the kitchen – so I couldn’t make coffee or lunch while he was in meetings, because he’d often have to unmute and say something with the noisy coffee grinder in the background. When we moved to a 3-bedroom (which we treat as bed + office + office) last fall life got so, so much better for remote work.

    It sounds like you have all the room you need – a bedroom to sleep in, a second bedroom to be an office, the living room to be another office, and the kitchen. But is your partner’s “office” also the place where you’d want to unwind and play videogames or watch TV at the end of your workday? If your hours don’t align, make sure you are OK with not having access to the stuff in that room while your partner is working and you aren’t.

    Last thing I’ll mention: when I started going back to the office part-time, there was a lot of weird guilt – now my partner is at home and I’m not, and he’s having to deal with household chores and needy dogs and so on. I got over it, and it was mostly in my head (who does chores in the middle of their workday anyway, unless they’re needing a break from work?) but it was an adjustment for a while.

  157. Katrine Fonsmark*

    After 7 weeks of both of us working from home in a 623 square foot one-bedroom, we were going completely crazy. We are both on a lot of zooms all day, had no privacy, and had to sit at our tiny table with our monitors practically back-to-back. So we left, went to my mom’s house where we both now have separate dedicated offices, figured out that we love WFH and never intend to go back to an office, got full-time remote jobs, and here we are! Now we’re building a house totally set up for our new lifestyle, with separate offices and a separate guest room, we close next month.

  158. cindy*

    My husband and I have both worked from home full-time since mid-March 2020. We share a home office in our basement. He has a desk on one side, and I have a desk on the other side of the room. Communication and respect are key to how we’ve made it work for so long. We both wear headsets for any calls or meetings – that’s a must. We usually check in with each other daily about when we have meetings scheduled, so that we’re not both trying to talk in separate meetings at once. When we have meetings overlapping, one of us will move to another room temporarily. We still like each other after all this togetherness, and I’ve actually enjoyed getting to spend more time with him during the day.

  159. Yellow*

    My husband and I have been WFH in the same space since March 2020. I’m back in the office 1 or 2 days a week now, but for the better part of the Pandemic we were together, in the same room every day. I usually have a call or 2 every day. I move to the kitchen table for those, to keep “the office” quiet. I let him know when I have an on camera meeting, and give him a 10 minute warning to get what he needs out of the kitchen and then stay away until I’m done. That seems to work well.
    The thing that was super annoying in the beginning was that we sat in a line, so I could look to my left and see exactly what he was doing at all times, and if it looked like he wasn’t working very hard, or taking a lot of breaks it really got under my skin. We now sit back to back, which has made a world of difference. Frankly, I forget that he’s there some times.

  160. OhNoYouDidn't*

    I think this would totally be doable. And it’s so nice of the partner to offer you the bedroom/office. However, because your partner is the one working from home way more often, to me, it would make sense that your partner should get that space so he can make it a more permanent work space.

    1. OhNoYouDidn't*

      Sorry, I didn’t mean to assume the partner is a he. I should have typed, “so ‘they’ can make it a more permanent work space.”

  161. living that WFH life*

    My husband is a 1st year PhD student. I am an accounting manager and I work from home all but 1-2 days a month. We share an office (in our 4 bedroom house, so we do have space to spread out when needed, but 95% of the time, we’re both in the same office space). Here’s how we make it work:

    If i have a heavy call day, where I will be incredibly distracting to someone trying to read/write, I give him a heads up so he can choose to use his space on campus, go to a coffee shop, make sure his headphones are charged, or decide to study in another room.

    Headphones/headsets. We don’t use computer speakers for calls/zoom classes (he has a few remote classes). We use our headsets.

    We each have separate desks and workspaces, set up the way we like, in our office. It’s the front bedroom of our house. Our desks are setup about 4 feet away from a wall and we sit behind them kind of making a “cube” area, so that we our outside of each other’s camera views.

    It basically works as if we were in an open office or shared office space. Basically we just be nice to each other and communicate.

  162. Diana*

    I share a two-bedroom apartment with my partner and we’ve both been working from home full time since March 2020. My work area is in the bedroom, and his is in the second room. When we first started working from home, I was in the spare room and he was out in the living area. That was a little trickier because it did sometimes feel like we were on top of each other a little more than it does now with us each in a room. He’s also in conference calls quite a lot, and sometimes I felt a little disruptive coming out for lunch. If you’re able to, I recommend setting up work areas in the two bedrooms.

  163. Project Problem Solver*

    I worked fully remote before the pandemic, and my wife did not. After the pandemic, of course, we were both home all day, everyday. In a one bedroom condo. Our desks (we’re both gamers, so we already had desks) are approximately 3 feet apart.

    It worked surprisingly well, though I will say part of that is that my wife is in accounting (and thus not on the phone a lot), and I’m a project manager (which means conference calls are 90% of my job). If we both had jobs where we were expected to talk a lot it would have been MUCH harder, but mostly it was fine.

    That said, we’d already been living together for ~13 years before that point, so we’d had time to discover – and then get over – all the minor irritants of living with another person. They lean back into their chair and sometimes make me feel blocked in; I talk very loudly on my calls because when I was alone in the house it didn’t matter.

    I’d say try it, but do be kind with each other and overcommunicate by a LOT. I can’t emphasize this enough – if something happens that annoys you, mention it as well as why it does. Give them a chance to explain why they’re doing it, then come up with a solution together. That solution, yes, might end up being “we’ll arrange our days at home so it’s only one of us at a time,” but it might also be awesome. I don’t think anyone can predict which it will be for you.

  164. Picky*

    We both worked from home full-time for 18 months in a similar set-up to what you describe. I am very happy to be back in the office, but it was perfectly workable. I invested in good headphones with a targeted mike, to make sure my partner’s work meetings weren’t heard by people in my work meetings. Otherwise, it was pretty smooth sailing. Also, we loved having lunch together and then going back to our separate offices.

  165. JoAnna*

    My husband and I both work from home. We both have the option to go into the office if we choose, but we both prefer working from home most of the time. We have a 2300 square-foot house with four bedrooms, but three of the bedrooms are in use as bedrooms by us and our kids, and one is used as our home office. We have two desks in there and we share the office. We have different shifts, he works 10 to 6 and I work 2 to 10, so we only overlap for a few hours every day. He’s on zoom calls most of the time and I’m not, so usually I just put on headphones and tune him out. It’s been working well for us. I’m hoping to transition to a day time work from home job soon, but if I do it will likely be a freelance, contract position where I can go downstairs to our dining room table or to the local library to work if needed.

  166. KB*

    My husband and I work from home and share an office (even share a desk!). The only problem is sometimes we both need to be on a work call at the same time, so one of us gets kicked out – usually the person who doesn’t need multiple monitors. Our offices are opened up and we can go in as much as we like, but we both love working from home. It is nice to have the option to head into the office though just in case it’s one of those days where everything is ticking you off. Good luck!

  167. JSPA*

    Share a calendar. Put “concentrating / do not interrupt” blocks on that calendar. Treat those blocks as seriously as you do “conference call” blocks.

    Don’t misuse them–that is, don’t block off a whole day as “concentrating,” and don’t block off 3 hours as “concentrating” only to then play with the cat, make coffee, and fix the toilet.

    We find that having at least a couple of 1.5 hour blocks per day where nobody even asks, “if I make coffee, do you want some?” or “do you remember where my keys are?” is a huge help. For some people, that’ll be just an hour, for others, 3 hours.

  168. My office is my basement*

    A lot depends on what your work is like. My spouse and I work from home in the same room. I have more meetings. I set up my desk so he’s not in my background. I wear noise cancelling headphones, and I give him a heads up about meetings just in case. Sometimes one of us will work in a different room. He doesn’t go into the office at all yet but used to do one day a week. I do one day a week and chose a different day, so that once he does go in, we’d be out of the house on different days.

  169. General von Klinkerhoffen*

    I have been WFH for years; spouse only started WFH because of the Plague. We similarly had one designated work space and one dining table.

    Within four months we were planning a house move. It was intolerable. Now we each have proper designated workspaces that are mutually inaudible.

    There were other reasons to move, but the double WFH was the catalyst. For one thing, it’s much less comfortable to have to clear up your workplace daily (or multiple times a day) to use as an actual dining room, rather than being able to close the laptop lid and shut the door on the whole lot. LW says it’s a dining table in a living area, which suggests even more need to clear down, otherwise you’d be spending all your leisure time in the “office”.

    Obviously there are many compelling reasons people work in suboptimal home working conditions, and I recognise my privilege here. But our collective mental health was going south in those suboptimal conditions, and is now improved.

  170. I'm just here for the cats!*

    I think it will be helpful if you can each have your own space, so one takes the study and the other the table.
    I would make sure that your internet connection is going to work for both of you. So make sure that wifi will reach both work spots. You might have to increase your internet if you are both doing stuff that takes a lot of bandwidth.

    Also consider if one or both of you will be taking a lot of calls. Make sure that you can close a door or something to muffle the sound. There’s been plenty of letters (not just here on AAM but other advice sites as well) where someone didn’t realize how horrible of a boss their partner was at work, or how loud they are, or how many calls they have to make each day etc.

    also consider your work times. if you work at 9 and your partner has a 7am zoom meeting every Monday morning you might start to dislike that you have to be so quiet right away in the morning.

    I don’t have a partner but my mom lives with me and when we both had to start working from home it really sucked because she was on the phone most of the day and so I had to be super quiet. We eventually rearranged her bedroom so that she could work from her room instead of the living room so we were a little more spaced out but it still was frustrating.

  171. Jack Russell Terrier*

    I LOVE working from home and have almost never worked in an office, although as a historian I’m/have been often at archives and libraries.

    As others say, you need to be fluid and open and test things out.

    * You might like to have a working space the is not in the flat’s communal area as some have suggested – with work areas in both bedrooms. I personally don’t like that as I prefer my sleep space not to have anything else in it – TV/work etc. My husband teases me about NO TV EVER in the bedroom. I work in the open plan downstairs (we have a flat, but it’s on two floors like a small terraced house) and I enjoy sitting at the dining room table, looking through the living area out the windows with the kitchen behind me. You / your partner might hate that.

    * This all might be because I am able to feel alone in the same room as someone else. Perhaps that’s because of years of boarding school where the only time you were alone was in the bath and then someone was knocking on the door to ask if they could be next. But I digress. My husband needs a door to be able to recharge. This could be why your partner says they are happy working from the dining room table – like I am. Kettle – lashings of tea – wouldn’t disturb me *as long as I’m not expected to interact*. That bit is important. It might disturb one or both of you.

    * About scheduling working from the office more on different days than your partner. You / partner might find you enjoy the companionableness of having someone in the home and being able to take a break and chat. You might find it nice to have a full day uninterrupted. I’m an extrovert and have to find ways to get some company during the day so I schedule a coffee break – these days via zoom, go for walks and hope for dog encounters … . You might find it wonderful to have no-one around.

    The short and the long of it is you have a lot of good suggestions here – it might take no time or it might take a while to see which work for you. There will be adjustments but you’ll get there.

  172. LittleRedJen*

    We have a small, 3 bedroom house, about 800 sq ft of livable space. We use one bedroom as my husband’s office, and our kid used her bedroom last year for online school. I set up a desk in our living room. It’s long and awkwardly shaped, so it’s actually worked well. Closing the bedroom doors worked well enough when anyone needed quiet. I have a MUCH higher tolerance for noise and interruptions than my husband.

    The hardest part is when lunch or end of day comes, and I’m scrambling to finish something, and kid or husband appears in my “office” wanting to know what’s for dinner or to recap a meeting they just had. We had to declare some boundaries about those times for me, since I don’t have physical boundaries around my “office”.

  173. JM*

    We’ve worked from home for 18 years and still going strong. Initially we set up two offices, but found we migrated to the shared living space to work because we enjoy each other’s company. I now work from the sofa and hubby works from an easy chair. We still use the offices sometimes if we’re both on a zoom or have a big project to spread out. It works for us, but I can imagine it wouldn’t for many! You won’t really know until you try.

  174. Anonymous Luddite*

    When my partner and I first moved in together, we did what you did: I took the office, she took the dining table. I thought this worked fine. (Narrator’s voice: It was not fine.) She -needed- a door she could close. We were lucky. We talked about it and after we got married, we moved into a three bedroom, one actual bed room and two offices.

    All this to say: check in with your partner regularly to make sure the arrangement is still good with them. Maybe alternate days on who gets the table and who gets the office. Do what you can to make it equitable and allow for the fact that feelings might change for one or both of you.

  175. halfwolf*

    my partner and i both work from home in a 2 bedroom apartment, and it’s fine! my partner has the second bedroom as an office/studio (audio engineer, so needs a dedicated space to mix in) and i have a desk in the bedroom. i go into the office a few days a week, but there are no issues when we’re both here. the most i really have to do is just keep them apprised of my meeting schedule because i’m in the bedroom and my partner may want to grab clothes, etc., during the day. my only recommendation is for your partner to get a desk and a real desk chair if you have the space and the money! working at a dining table may be fine for now, but having a real workspace (that is set up to spend a whole day at) can be a huge benefit physically and mentally.

  176. HereKittyKitty*

    My husband and I have the same set up- 2b/2bth apartment. He works in the 2nd bedroom and I work in the “dining area.” Except the dining area doesn’t have a dining table it’s literally just my desk and plants. We both work from home 5 days a week and we haven’t run into any problems. We basically shout out to each other throughout the day if there’s a big important meeting about to happen so neither of us unintentionally runs up to the other during a meeting to talk. We also check-in before any bigger noises: coffee grinding, cooking, etc to make sure we don’t have a meeting or something about to happen. It doesn’t feel like we’re on top of each other and we personally don’t end up chatting much during the day.

    I’d say the key is making sure the other person is in the loop if you have a meeting where you will have cameras on, or you’ll be talking, etc. Luckily his work is entirely cameras off, so that’s not much of an issue on his side.

  177. The Other Liz*

    Congrats on the move-in! My partner and I have now been working from home together 5 days a week for a year and a half, and we also have the luxury of a spare bedroom. for us, it’s worked really well, and here are some factors to consider: My partner and I never really get sick of each other. That’s not to say we don’t ever need alone time, but we are very comfortable in each other’s company and don’t really need space often. That said we work in different rooms. We have a rhythm of swapping desk spaces every 2 or 3 days, so neither of us gets too sick of using the living room as a work space. And we also have a “no hard feelings” policy if one f us pops over to share something random or say hi – if you’re in the zone, or a meeting is starting in 1 minute, we just say, sorry, can’t right now. And we check in with each other before doing noisy things like grinding coffee or doing a load of laundry.

  178. Kit C.*

    My partner and I have been working fully remotely since the beginning of the pandemic in two different 2-bedroom apartments. Before I get into why I like one situation more than the other, what worked for us was to set up a small whiteboard in a central location that we’d write our meetings for the day on. That way we’d know when not to interrupt each other (and this was very important when one of us worked in the dining room). We could do this in a shared google calendar, but it seems easier to us to not have another digital calendar on top of the work one to update. We would sometimes chat by Discord or Google Hangouts to share if a meeting time had changed or ask if it was okay to come out now too.

    In Apartment 1, he worked in the second bedroom and I worked at the dining table because our bedroom was too small to fit a desk. I will say that this situation drove me a little batty because I found it hard to concentrate. I was able to position myself so the camera would never pick up him walking in for a snack/drink/lunch, but this also meant I literally faced his door and whenever he came in it was instinct to start chatting (for both of us). Also I never felt settled because I would often have to clear off the dining table so we could eat dinner. And finally, because I was in the dining/living room, I often felt guilty if I needed to work later because that meant I was preventing him from relaxing after work and watching TV (and when I had meetings on weekends, I literally felt like I was banishing him!).

    In Apartment 2, he still works in the second bedroom while I’ve been able to set up a desk in our bedroom. I like this SO much more. I feel like I have my own space for my things and to decorate and I finally set up my external monitor (now that I don’t need to clear it off the dining table every night). I have a door that shuts too! We do still chat during the day, but it’s much easier to divide up our space and if anyone wants to relax during the day or make a more elaborate lunch, they can do so without disrupting anyone. I no longer feel like he is interrupting me just by wanting to do perfectly normal things like grabbing the mail or getting a drink. The only negative is there have been 1-2 instances so far where I need to work really late and he wants to go to bed. I, admittedly unfairly, was annoyed that I had to take all my necessary stuff to work downstairs and he was probably annoyed he stayed up later than planned to try and accommodate me as much as possible.

    I’m clearly biased toward having my own separate space, but perhaps your partner won’t be bothered by the same things! I know it definitely would not have worked for us to share the dining table and then head into the second bedroom whenever one of us has a meeting because we both like having a dedicated space. Make sure to communicate and hopefully you’ll make the best of your situation!

  179. Hawk or Handsaw*

    My wife and I have been both working from home in a two bedroom for the past 18 months. She works from the second bedroom/study, and I work from the kitchen table. We’re going to be moving soon though because I got tired of working from a living space. I got tired of the table being covered in work stuff (three monitors, etc.) and going to the kitchen made me feel work stress in a way that wasn’t fun. But it took a while to get to that point.

    It has been really nice working with my wife though! I get to see her and chat every time she comes to get coffee or get a snack, and I can go see here when I want to chat for a minute, that’s been really nice!

  180. GreenDoor*

    I’m at the kitchen table, he’s at a desk in the next room (living room). When kids were in virtual school, one shared the kitchen table with me and the other was at a table in a third room (dining room). We have a ranch-style house. We made it work by wearing headphones during meeting/class time, a “no speaker phone call” rule, and a kids play in the basement/bedrooms/outside rule (no play on the main floor). If anyone needs the kitchen for food, I have my computer turned so they aren’t in the background if I’m on a meeting. Husband took his lunch break at the same time as the kids so they could have a TV watching break. Nothing is in the path of the door if one of us needs to leave to go work on-site. Husband can step out onto the patio from his space and I can step into the mudroom from mine for any loud phone calls. Our conversations with one another consisted of “I’m about to go into a meeting” or “I’m going to Panera for lunch, want anything?” Same as if we are random co-workers in an office and not spouses. We save the household conversations for after work time. It works!

  181. Katt*

    If you have an extra room, I’d say go for it! I was living with a roommate during 2020 and working from home was a nightmare, as I had to work in the living room and he doesn’t work at all, so he basically just hung out in his room all day. We had a two-bedroom apartment with no extra space for an office. We aren’t friends anymore, and that whole situation that definitely contributed (I’m not going to go into detail because I’d go on forever).

    I’ve known several people during this pandemic who live with someone, though. One of my friends lives in a 3-bedroom apartment with his roommate and they both wfh I think about half the time; they each have a desk at opposite ends of the “office” room, and seem to have no issues. A couple I know had one of them work in a spare bedroom and I think the other in the dining room; another couple had the basement and the kitchen as workspaces. All of these individuals are still working from home and report no issues. For my part, I went and moved into my own apartment and even though it’s only a 1-bedroom, not having someone around all the time is excellent, and I can work wherever I want in the apartment.

  182. Catservant*

    Though my husband and I stay pretty seperated throughout the work day, we usually let each other know if one of us has a particularly busy/meeting heavy day, and especially if anything is coming up that absolutely cannot have any interruptions (if only to make sure the other feeds the cat so that he does not scream). Otherwise we might sometimes check in to see if the other wants a cup of tea, lunch etc. but not much else.

  183. awasky*

    My partner and I both work from home in an apartment. I have a desk in the bedroom (which is large enough to accommodate); she has a desk in the living room/kitchen. The key here is (1) working in separate rooms so our calls don’t interrupt each other, and (2) she has a somewhat miraculous ability to block out distraction when I come down to the kitchen or go turn on the TV in the living room. Not sure you can replicate (2), but if you can get a set up that’s ergonomic for both of you where you can both take calls, that can totally work long-term.

  184. LizM*

    I live in a 3-bedroom house, so one of our bedrooms is a study. My husband works in there, I usually work in at the kitchen table or at my sewing table in the corner of our living room. It’s an open concept house, so there isn’t a ton of difference between the two.

    By the time I went back to the office, there was *so much togetherness* I thought I would strangle my husband. After being married for 10 years, it never occurred to me that he is *so loud* until we didn’t get a break from each other. We ended up needing to be intentional about getting breaks from each other, and I ended up going back to the office once it was an option for my own mental health (I am better off when I have a clean break between home and work, I get a change in scenery, and the commute is a nice block of time that helps me reset).

    I would make sure you’re checking in with each other and both willing to make adjustments as needed. It was challenging for my relationship, I can imagine it will be challenging (but not insurmountable) when also adjusting to living together.

  185. Erin*

    I’ve been WFH with my boyfriend since March 2020. We moved from a tiny 1 bedroom to a slightly larger 2 bedroom about a year into it.

    I have absolutely no time to myself unless I go for a run after work. I start my work day an hour before he does to give myself some breathing room.

    After a year of my office being in the dining room, we switched. My boyfriend is unable to simply walk past me while he gets something from the kitchen, etc. I finally had enough, and we switched to me taking the 2nd bedroom (the door has a lock!) and things are somewhat better.

    I love WFH. But I would happily take a few days in office to get some space and time away from my boyfriend.

  186. Annoying Jedi Intern*

    I heard a comedian say that he and his wife (both work from home) have an agreement: whoever makes breakfast gets to use the better workspace (an actual desk as opposed to the kitchen table) that day.

  187. Jenny D*

    Both I and my husband have been WFH since the start of the pandemic. We already had a home office with a desk each, which we mainly used for gaming or other computer related hobbies. Husband didn’t want to mix work with hobbies, so he made the kitchen table his work space, while I was happy to stay in our common home office. After a while he got some aches from bad posture so we set up a separate desk space in a sort of biggish hallway off the kitchen.

    This works great for us, because we’re pretty much at opposite ends of the house, so we don’t overhear each other’s calls or meetings and we each get our own space. We usually have lunch together – mostly he cooks, sometimes we have takeout. Since we’re working in separate rooms, we both get our own time during the day.

    I think that for most couples, it’s really important for both parties to have a space of their own to work and also some time and space on their own when they’re not working.

  188. SpaceySteph*

    My husband and I work majority from home (in the office 1-2 times a week but we don’t have control over those days, they are scheduled by others). For awhile we’ve had a sweet deal each with our own bedroom office (him in the official study and me in the guest room that has mostly been unused). Its so nice both being home, we mostly don’t see each other except occasionally in the kitchen, we even have different bathrooms nearest each of our offices, and if one of us has a lunchtime meeting the other might warm up some food and drop it off, occasionally we squeeze in a… break, if you know what I mean.

    After our third kid arrives in Feb we’re going to be squeezed a bit on home office space, but as long as you can have separate working spaces to take telecons in peace I don’t see any reason you need to deconflict.

  189. anonymouse*

    At the start of the pandemic, my two roommates and I were all working from home. One of my roommates lived on the third floor of our house (me and the other roommate were on the second floor) and they did not have a bedroom door. We all tended to work from our bedrooms to minimize noise disruptions and to not take over communal space, and we all had workspaces in our rooms. Sometimes if someone was expecting a package that needed to be signed for, or we needed to let a maintenance person in, one of us would work from our living room. This was okay for work purposes, but for me it was pretty hard to be cooped up with the same people all the time and to also be in my room for 90% of the day. We all moved separate from each other (not because of this) recently, and I now live with someone who doesn’t work from home and who has an opposite work schedule from me (I work a traditional 9-5 and she works nights). Because she works nights, she tends to get up pretty late in the day. This honestly works perfectly for me – I get a lot of alone time throughout the day (which is a must for me) and if I want to work outside of my bedroom, I can work in our dining room or living room. I’ve yet to disturb her by being on calls even if I do them outside of my bedroom. Once she’s up, I can either give her her space (and get in a quieter location for myself) and go back to my room, where I have a desk, or if we’re both up for it I can stay downstairs and socialize with her while I work.

    Like other commenters are saying, I think this depends a lot on each of your living habits and preferences, as well as your jobs. I’m someone who needs a lot of alone time (as in, I am the only person awake/home and using a space), I usually have at least a few calls/meetings every week, and I am somewhat sensitive to background noise if it’s excessive. So it works really well for me to live with someone with an opposite schedule who isn’t sensitive to noise, and I have noise-canceling headphones and an air filter that makes perfect white noise if I need to block out sounds from the rest of my house. It’s also nice that most days after work my roommate is gone and I have the place to myself.

  190. Missb*

    Really late to the commenting, and didn’t read others comments.

    Dh and I both work from home. We have an office with a desk/bookcase/printer and a small desk in the dining room (which is a fairly large room, so it works). The spaces are distant enough that if I’m on a call and he’s on a call, no one we are talking to can hear the details of the other person.

    We check each morning and talk about what sort of meetings we have that day. I currently use the office for most of the week. I’m happy to be bumped out of the office if he has a several hours long, high stakes call. The office has glass doors that can be closed; it provides a bit more privacy. If I’m conducting interviews, I claim the office because I need to not be interrupted during the interview process.

    We also have two dogs. They’re not always quiet. On days where both of us are really really busy, we tend to drop them at daycare. The person that drops them off is the one that starts their meetings the latest and the one that picks them up is the one that finishes meetings first.

    Basically, it is totally workable if you just spend a little extra bandwidth making sure that each person has what they need each day. We rarely interrupt each other during meetings but sometimes I’ll be popping out to get lunch and will text him or shove a note in front of him with a choice for lunch. He similarly texts me if he’s popping out for any reason.

    Yesterday I approached him from the side, unsure if he was muted or not. My work day had ended and I was running out to do some errands. He actually said “hold on, I have to kiss my wife goodbye”. It was adorable and yet, so so unnecessary, hubs. It was clearly an internal call and they’re pretty much all like that – folks seem to understand that remote work in our particular industry doesn’t mean absolutely no distractions. Ymmv.

  191. TimeTravlR*

    We both work from home almost exclusively. We are fortunate to have three floors though so he has set up shop in the basement with a desk and multiple monitors. I am two floors up in a spare bedroom. We meet at lunchtime in the kitchen, which is about the only time we see each other during the day.
    Sometimes, we go to a vacation home where quarters are a little closer. He works on the 3-season porch and I am set up in the dining room. It’s a little tougher when we are both on calls but we make it work!
    The key for us is just respect for each other’s space and time. Good luck!

  192. Wendy Darling*

    My partner and I have both worked from home exclusively for the last 18 months. I’d worked from home for a few years before the pandemic shut everything down, and his company sent employees home early on.

    We have a 2-bedroom apartment. He works in the spare bedroom and I work in the living room. We both have our own desks set up with all our work gear. If he has a meeting he closes the door, and I have a little status light that turns red when I’m in a meeting so he knows not to bother me (because I also just sit at my desk with headphones on all the time when NOT in a meeting). Our kitchen is behind me but I have a headset with a good noise cancelling mic so I don’t care if he’s banging around over there when I’m on a call — if I have something very important I’ll just ask him not to, like, run the coffee grinder during. If there’s something really REALLY important we switch rooms and I work from the spare room with the door that closes.

    I pulled the living room work area because I am generally less bothered by background noise than he is. (Notably I lived in dorms in college and he lived at home, and before I worked remote I was in an open office, while he’s almost always had a private office.)

    We talk to each other in passing throughout the day, because that’s something that works for us. Sometimes he’s sequestered in the spare room all day, or I have my red do-not-disturb light on all day, but typically things are pretty casual and I’ll wander into his work area to ask what he wants to do for dinner or have a quick vent about something.

    I think the most important thing we did was be super open about our needs. I got the little light because he said he was having a hard time telling whether I was busy. I straight up asked him, outside of work hours, if it bothers him if I come in when he’s working. We’re very open about telling the other if we’re too busy to talk — lately my dang light stopped working right so if he tries to talk to me when I’m in a meeting I just point at my headphones and mouth “meeting”.

    We also both stick to pretty normal working hours, which helps — we have together time after work.

  193. Karo*

    My husband is permanently remote (no office to go into ever) and I am WFH 3 days a week. We actually both work in the same room when I’m home and really the only issues we’ve run into are pretty standard workplace things – reading cues about whether or not the other person is busy, being quiet while on meetings, etc. We have started using Slack so we can IM during the workday which helps reduce interruptions and, honestly, helps me remember that we’re both at work. We also take meetings from separate rooms and make sure to announce when we’re getting on/off a call. One thing I wish we’d done differently is how we set up our office. Right now our chairs are back to back; if our desks were side by side we wouldn’t have to worry so much about keeping desks clean for when they’re in the others’ camera sight.

  194. esmerelda*

    I work from home with two housemates who also work from home (we all do a hybrid schedule but are frequently all home together) and it’s worked surprisingly well. I usually like working in a room with my housemates, actually, since it reminds me of working in the office near others and I typically feel more productive with people nearby. One housemate works at the kitchen table, one typically on the couch, and I’m at a desk in the living room. The housemate in the kitchen has proclaimed to be un-disturbable and I hold her to that since I’m often in the kitchen grabbing food or water throughout the day. I typically go to my bedroom for video calls so I can limit the distractions for myself and also not distract others by having housemates walking around in the background of my video. We really haven’t had any conflicts so far and we’re over a year into working from home (other than some minor squabbles over who gets to use the one really nice, fuzzy blanket while they work :). My housemates are just as much my coworkers as my actual coworkers are at this point. Most of the time we just work quietly, but we do ask each other work questions sometimes, too – “how do you do X in Outlook/Excel?” “Does this email wording sound ok?” It’s a pretty nice setup, to be honest! But everyone has to find the system that works for them. I think you’ll fall into a nice rhythm sooner than you think, OP :)

    1. esmerelda*

      I forgot to add that I also lived alone until August 2020 and then the three of us moved in together. So I relate to your question a lot, OP – I’m not married of course so the relationship dynamic is different, but I was worried about feeling too “cooped up” with or in the way of my housemates. For me that hasn’t been the case and all has gone really smoothly!

  195. Isobel*

    My husband and I both worked from home during the lockdowns. We live in a one bedroom trailer – absolutely tiny. It was tough. I’m self employed so I was able to schedule my calls during his breaks, so we were taking turns using the sofa in the living room.
    I hated it and it really took a toll on my mental health. We were together, no space from each other, but we couldn’t really talk to each other or relax. Worst of all worlds.
    I really hope your experience is better than mine but it sounds like you have more space than we do.

  196. Everdene*

    I’m going to caveat this by saying we are in a relatively large house for 2 people in our area. I am lucky, I know this.

    When we both started working from home f/t last year I generously suggested I would work at the dining room while Oak could take our “study” as his office. We did this for 6 months and it was awful. His office was directly above mine (aka dining room) and sound carried terribly and caused us both frustrations.

    After 6 months we converted the guest room into my office. We are now across the hall from each other with a bathroom in between. Sound doesn’t carry and life is sweet. We like each other again.

    My advice is set things up in such a way that you don’t annoy each other, what ever that means for you. Good luck.

  197. Snaffanie*

    Oh, I have my husband at home and my boys homeschool and I cannot be around them. They interrupt me all the time. I moved down to the basement on my at-home days. For light tasks, they didn’t bother me much. But for deep thinking tasks? I just couldn’t do it.

  198. Froschkugel*

    When the pandemic hit and my partner I started to work from home, I already had a desk in the guest room for studying and crafting (and because I need lots of time alone). Because of my job (solicitor) I needed to work from a separated room. My partner had his gaming computer in the living room and he worked from there. Turns out he really likes that set up, because I come by a few times a day to get another coffee. So when we moved, we specifically looked for a flat where he could again have his desk in the living room!

  199. divinekittycat*

    I moved from a one bedroom townhouse last November and my partner moved in with me. His job was already fully remote, whereas I had the expectation of eventually having to go back into the office on either a full or part time basis. Prior to the pandemic, I had had the option to WFH two days a month or when working overtime. Two weeks after we moved I was notified my office was not going to reopen and I was now permanent WFH, which makes me very glad I went into house-shopping with the mindset that we would absolutely need to be able to both WFH comfortably no matter how often or rare it would be.

    The things that were most important in my thought process when I was looking at properties were that 1) I was currently still WFH and didn’t know how much longer it would last or how often I may be required to stay home even once the office did reopen since the plans kept being updated, 2) partner works West Coast hours while I work early East Coast hours (I start at 7, he usually doesn’t have anything to do until 10 at the earliest) so even if I wasn’t WFH I would be getting up far earlier than he does and he’d be staying up much later than me, and 3) we both like having our own space (I lived alone for 14 years before this move).

    This is what led me to buy a 3 bedroom townhouse and it has been the best decision I think I have ever made in my life even though money is a bit tight since it was at the top end of the budget. All three bedrooms have full bathrooms attached, so every morning I get up early and use my office bathroom to shower and get ready while every night he uses his office bathroom for his shower before he comes up to bed.

    Each office also doubles as a guest bedroom for company- I put an old twin bed in mine and he’s got a futon in his. As for while we’re working, we have some simple rules in place so we don’t interrupt each other. If the door is closed all the way, do not disturb. If the door is cracked open, knock first. If the door is open, come on in! We also communicate frequently through discord on our personal computers (which are both set up next to our work systems).

    So far after a little more than a full year, I can say that this is working great for us both WFH fulltime. The few times he came to visit me in my old one-bedroom and we both tried to work it was a nightmare- my setup was in the living room (the only space I had for a desk- my work also requires multiple monitors while he can get away with just his laptop) and he couldn’t work at the kitchen table because there was no door and he often is on confidential calls. He ended up working from the bed, which was not completely comfortable. It may not have been as bad if there had been another work surface he had been able to use, but it still wouldn’t have been feasible to deal with for more than literally a couple days at a time just because of being in a small space.

    There were a lot of contributing factors in my decision to move it was not purely because my partner and I wanted to move in together- I didn’t have space for my full work setup and my personal computer at the same time (there would’ve been no possible way to make space for his work/personal setups either without getting rid of half my furniture), the walls were paper thin and I had terrible neighbors, building age and maintenance issues, etc. Having to spend all my time in that place was putting me on the verge of a breakdown, as it had never been that bad when I was spending a normal work week at the office. In our new place, I feel put out when I have to actually leave the house now!

    My experience isn’t anyone else’s experience, though, and what works for us wouldn’t work for everyone. I feel incredibly lucky I had the opportunity and means to sell my old condo and buy this townhouse.

  200. CookieWookiee*

    My DH and I work for the same company, in the same department. We have done so for most of the past 20 years. In the Before Times, we worked from home 3x a week in our tiny 3br house. We shared the spare bedroom we turned into an office. Same desk, two computers, two chairs. Never had a problem.

    Once COVID hit and we were working from home 5x a week, plus living together and never going out, it took about 6 months before I realized I needed some space and quiet or I was going to lose it. (I love him dearly, and I love working with him, but he’s both a pack rat and a talker, whereas I like a neat desk and minimal conversation.) He understood and bought a desk that he keeps in the living room. I work upstairs, he works downstairs, but we have lunch together. The cats happily roam about freely and have two desks upon which they can display themselves. It’s worked out great for us.

  201. Tbd*

    Having a physical way to separate work and home is KEY. Find a way to shut the door, or pack it up, or take a walk when you’re done working to mimick the commute. Really understand your WFH personality and be mindful of how work impacts you, which will carry over to your relationship and home life.

    My sanctuary craft space suddenly became the place I worked 10+ stressful hours every day– not shocking that I no longer wanted to spend time in the space which I previously used to escape and recharge. I recognize my privilege in having multiple spaces, but this is just a variation on the themes previously mentioned to figure out what YOU need, not only for work purposes, but for your mental and physical health, then to communicate with your partner.

    If it isn’t working, don’t be afraid to change it up quickly. Be open to anything and rethink traditional spaces like others have mentioned.

  202. McS*

    Most important is that you have to discuss boundaries and kind of treat each other as coworkers during the day. Send a gchat rather than interrupting. Be direct if they have a habit that is driving you nuts. And really be explicit about rules and how spaces are defined. You leaving dinner plates or water glasses on the dining table may be no big deal, but you wouldn’t leave them on a coworker’s desk, right? Similarly, clutter on the table might bother you, but you have no right to complain about clutter on a coworker’s desk. If this kind of conflict happens, delineate exactly what part of the table is his workspace, or what hours of the day the whole table is, or how he communicates when it is. Similar for the study if he wants to use it for personal things. Maybe he can work on his bike there over the weekend, but must clean it before 9am on Monday. And close the door when you use the bathroom. No one wants to be presenting in a meeting wondering if the mic is picking up the toilet!

  203. Not your typical admin*

    My partner and I have been working from home (and doing online school with our kids) even pre pandemic. Here’s a couple of things we’ve learned:

    1. Recognize you’ll probably have different working styles and needs. I find silence distracting, and have no problem switching gears from project to project. I don’t need a big workspace, and like the ability to pack things up and work from different places waiting on my kids when they’re in different activities. He needs quiet, finds it hard to return to what he was working on after a distraction, and uses every inch of his desk to spread out papers/books/ect. A good white noise machine and noise canceling headphones are a must for him! Our spaces are very different, but work for us.

    It’s very easy for work to bleed into your personal time and relationship. When you work from home it’s tempting to send and email or text, make a phone call, or anything else in your off time. Good boundaries and having a transition between work and off time help, I’ll usually take our dogs on a walk and exercise as a way to signal to my brain work is over and it’s off time. We’ve also had to make sure we communicate with each other when we’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or frustrated at work and not to take those feelings out on each other.

    There’s bumps along the road, and things you’ll need to change; but it’s a life we enjoy.

  204. AllyKat*

    My husband works 80% from home. For a while during the first lockdown, I was 100% remote. We live in a small 2 bedroom condo that has an office area set up in the living room. It was a struggle for us because a lot of the work I do is confidential (I’m a school counsellor) and he works with video. I ended up having to go into our son’s room to work when I had full days of student sessions or teaching. On the days when I was out in the living room, I had to be quiet so that my husband could hear the videos he was editing.

    So, test it out but be open to saying if something isn’t working. If one of you is working in the main area, know how and when it’s okay for the other to be making noise in the kitchen, or even just having music playing. Communication is the key!

  205. Slp*

    My sister and I lived together for 5 years before we were both sent home the same week because of COVID, and then both WFH for over a year. It went way better than I expected. We both worked out of our own bedrooms the whole time. Our start/end times were staggered by 30 mins, so we rarely even saw each other in the morning. During the day we were respectful about noise- she was on the phone a lot, but I just turned music on softly to help drown her voice out. We took lunch at different times too. So by the end of the day, we had barely seen each other. We took a walk almost every day after work and we still had stuff to talk about. So, if you’re careful you can definitely set it up in a way where you don’t feel like you’re around each other too much!

  206. Mack*

    My best tip is, when you put the kettle on ask your partner if they’d like something. My partner and I do this and even when the answer is no, it feels good to be considered! If he’s in a meeting I text so I don’t interrupt it.

    I haven’t had trouble most of the time. Communication has fixed the small problems that have come up now and then – like when he did the dishes during a meeting I was in, which was too loud!

  207. Fierce Jindo*

    I *hate* it, so we just got a bigger house.

    Whoever has the more important meetings/presentations/etc that day gets the “good” room. The other is in the living room and will deal with background noise when the other goes to the kitchen, etc

    We’re constantly moving our stuff out of each other’s way in the good room, realizing we left something important in there but can’t get it until later, realizing we can’t print anything until someone’s out of a meeting right next to the printer, OR managing interruptions.

    Manage this better than we do or you’ll be sorry :(

  208. Jasmine*

    My husband and I both do teaching one on one “in the field” private homes, coffee shops etc. Early in the pandemic it changed to phone and zoom only. As it happens we live in an a apartment that is bigger than we need because the just right apartments are more expensive because they are in newer, fancier buildings. I have a office and my husband has a guest bedroom/office. However in the summer I take a box with all my work stuff into the dining room because my office has no AC. In a subtropical climate! So I am happy it’s fall and I don’t have to pack everything up before each meal.
    Other than that we only had the problem that from time to time our 5G wifi would go out during a class on Zoom. One day I realized every time it happened and I came out to tell my husband he was holding a cup of coffee that he just took out of the microwave. Yeah… The microwave interferes with our WiFi! so now we make a point of always heating up or whatever we’re going to drink before we start a class.

  209. LondonLady*

    My partner works in an office, I work from home, but during the COVID lockdown we both worked from home. We found a rhythm by keeping to separate working spaces (him in home office, me in living room or vice versa) and ‘meeting’ for lunch or at the end of the day. If we needed a break from each other, we’d go on (separate) walks or runs.
    And I occasionally take my laptop to a local coffee shop if I feel like a change of scene on a day without meetings (my manager is aware and approves).

  210. frida*

    My partner and I both work from home in the same room (our 2nd bedroom was large enough for 2 desks). If I have a call at the same time I usually take it from the dining room—he is a programmer so it’s a bit tougher for him to pick up his laptop and move. I worked in call centres before the pandemic so I was used to tuning out chatter, but I would recommend investing in a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones! Working alongside each other has strengthened our relationship and our work – it’s useful to have third-party insight sitting right next to you.

  211. Teapot Wrangler*

    I’d say that you should avoid our set up (one bedroom flat, tiny kitchen, living/dining room) as it gets frustrating both working at the dining table. If our bedroom was big enough to put a desk in, I’d definitely do that!
    Definitely keep eachother posted on meetings. We’re probably hotter on this by necessity (as we’re either in the same room or one of us is sitting on the bed working on their laptop) but it is really useful to know which are meetings which you can’t interrupt but could quietly sneak in to grab a glass of water, which are ones where you’ll be on mute and ones which are important and to update the person when you’re done.

    We try to take lunch around the same time (as there’s nowhere else to go) but don’t get obsessive about it if it doesn’t work with our schedules.

    Definitely not worth trying to be on calls at the same time in the same room!

    If you can have both of you out of your relaxation space for working, I would recommend it but working from the dining table wasn’t as hard on my back as expected!

  212. Virginia Plain*

    I would give it a month under the current situation and see how it works for you. If I have read correctly, you’re in the office three days a week and she, about once a fortnight. So if she goes to the office on one of your wfh days, each week you will have either two days, or one day, wfh together. That seems do-able in your setup. But if it seems a bit much you could move to her going to the office once a week and see how that is.
    I would say the person who works the most from home should primarily use the home office with desk as this will mean less tidying the dining table –
    I currently live with a partner but no home office so I too use the dining table at one end of the lounge and I think it is important to tidy work things away so the living space is pleasant for the evening/weekend, but you can leave stuff on the desk in a home office. As an example I have two matching lidded storage boxes in hefty cardboard from WHSmiths*; one a “shirt box” which fits my laptop and a large notebook (and would fit the charging lead if I wanted) and a smaller A4 size one that holds post it notes, pens and other stationery bits and other small desky things like hand cream and an Emery board, maybe some mints. I put everything away in the boxes at the end of the day and put them aside so we can use the table for dinner etc.
    *I infer from vocab that the LW is also U.K. – but out of interest what’s the US equivalent of WHSmiths? It sells newspapers, magazines, books (fiction and non) stationery and office supplies that are pretty, for kids, school/university-appropriate, and businessy, including print cartridges etc (used to sell things like floppy disks and dictaphone tapes!); greetings cards, a few arts/craft supplies,a small range of sweets, tobacco, and postal packaging (and often has a sub post office at the back of the shop).

  213. Jane*

    Make sure your partner can’t overhear your work calls, or if they can, make this clear to your colleagues.

    I was really freaked out when we were having social chitchat after a team meeting, and a colleague’s husband shouted across the answer to the discussion we were having. I would never have had made the comments I was making in the presence of a someone I didn’t know (it was light hearted chat about an atttractive celebrity; nothing NSFW, but just not something I would say to a stranger as a first impression.). Then I realised he had probably also been able to hear our entire work meeting. It’s not just about confidentiallity, it’s also about expectations – if someone else is in the room but can’t be seen, use headphones at the very minimum.

  214. Rainy Cumbria*

    My partner and I have a similar set up. One thing that helps is that we try and make an event of lunch if we can. We set a time, make our lunch together,.and we always have a TV show that we only watch at lunch. Sometimes I have to ask him not to come to offload about his work when I’m trying to concentrate, but generally it works well for us.

  215. A Rose By Any Other Name*

    I’ve worked remotely for several years, and my husband recently started working mostly remotely. My best advice: You both need really good headphones that are either noise canceling or good at blocking background noise. It really helps when you’re both on a call at the same time or someone’s making a smoothie in the kitchen.

    I would also recommend setting expectations about when you’re in work mode and when you’re up for chatting. For example, maybe headphones on or a don’t disturb sign on the back of your chair means don’t disturb/I’m on a call. That way you avoid the awkward video call with your boss when your SO walks in wearing pajamas and asks if you need tampons/condoms/toilet paper at the grocery store :)

  216. EA*

    My husband and I both work remotely full time since March 2020(permanently now). Originally I worked in a spare room and he worked in the dining room but we have since switched spots. I have next level concentration skills so I don’t notice him making food in the kitchen, and he’s easily distracted so he works best in a dedicated office.
    Some things we do that we credit to making working together work:
    We don’t eat breakfast or lunch together, EVER. Lunch is kind of our time to take a break so we don’t spend it together. YMMV, but I consider it one of the best things we do for ourselves and relationship during the day.
    We take one or two walks around the neighborhood a day, usually at least one of those is together so we spend like 10-15 min catching up on what we want to do after work, during the weekend, projects around the house, etc.
    We usually will pop into one another’s space at some point to say hi for a couple minutes, just like you would walking by a co-workers desk haha.
    We text during the day. This may sound weird since we COULD yell or visit, but it makes it so the other can reply when they’re free. We also send memes and such back and forth. It’s really nice when we have heads down work required or a lot of meetings.
    I think when we both started working from home there was a certain apprehension about logistics and if this would work and we actually found we liked it so much that my husband asked to WFH permanently and then I did the same.

  217. bookworm*

    My wife and I have been working from home in a 900 sf 1 br apartment for the whole pandemic. It’s definitely doable, but the biggest challenge is that most of the square footage is in the common spaces and the only room with a closable door is our bedroom, which is not large enough to house a workspace as well as our bed. We set up a desk space in the dining room for my wife and a desk space in the entryway by our front door for me. Sometimes we have to negotiate if we both have calls where we’re doing a lot of talking at the same time (often one person will take the call off-video in the bedroom). The other thing we’ve developed is a way for both of us to indicate that we are in “focus mode,” whether that’s on deadline or on a zoom call with video (I have a curtain set up behind me that I can close for important meetings).

    I’d echo others comments that it’s really important to be flexible– your first plan will likely not work in some ways, and the only way you’ll really find out what you need is by trying it and figuring out what doesn’t work. Also, I’d encourage you to maintain or find independent hobbies that take you out of the house on different nights/weekend days, so you both can have some time in the apartment without the other person around.

  218. Turtles All The Way Down*

    I work in my office, which is a spare bedroom, and my husband originally worked on the dining room table last year, but has since moved to the basement, so we have 2 floors separating us. I’m currently 100% from home (going to maybe 3/2 home/office split next calendar year) and my husband works from his office 2-4 days per month.

    It depends on your work. He and I are both on multiple zoom calls per day, so not being able to hear each other is pretty essential. If neither of you has calls frequently, or ever, it’s a lot easier to work in smaller spaces. But plenty of people have had to make due in even smaller spaces than a 2 bedroom apartment during the pandemic, and the set up, where no one even has to use the bedroom!, sounds pretty good.

  219. hamburke*

    My husband and I both work from home and we share an office space – I have 1 corner, he’s got the opposite and open to the house where our teen does online school. Husband has been remote for years. I went remote in March 2020 and the company decided to stay that way. We usually start the day talking about our schedule – calls, meetings, heads down time, anything unusual, etc. The biggest key to our success has always been communication.

    1. hamburke*

      We do eat lunch together most days and on busy days, the not busy person will make the lunch and bring it to the others desk. It works for us.

  220. Simone*

    My partner and I have both been working from home for the past several years (pre-pandemic) and it is challenging, but you can make it work. For us, it’s been key to make some guidelines about the shared space that one person is also working from (I work from a desk in the living area). That includes during the work day treating it as an office, as in “knocking’ before engaging with me if he’s in there making coffee or what have you, so I didn’t don’t get derailed. And making sure to try not to bring with into the evenings, especially when we’re chilling in the living room, so I don’t feel too “hanging in my work zone”. We also agreed that neither of us would ever engage in work in the bedroom — no email checking, no discussing work drama — just so I have one home space that is entirely work-free. This one has been super important for me! We work in tangential industries and actually get a lot of joy from collaborating and discussing, as long as the work part stays secondary to the romantic partnership stuff, it’s great. Good luck!

  221. Allura Vysoren*

    At the start of the pandemic, my wife, our roommate, and I were all working from home together. I had my desk in our finished basement, my wife had the dining room table, and our roommate had a folding card table in the living room. It wasn’t easy at first, but you get used to it and find ways to work around it. My wife and I had jobs that were mostly silently staring at spreadsheets with occasional meetings, but our roommate had a job that involved spending 30% of her day on the phone. I brought my noise-cancelling headphones home from the office.

  222. raida7*

    One thing I would suggest here to seriously consider:

    Is working from a table ergonomic?

    If not, setting up dedicated workspaces with the right heights, for chair, desk, monitor is a smarter way to go. Consider a fold-out desk in the living areas or a desk raiser to put on the dining table.

    Also if he’s working from home every day does that mean you have only half your dining table available at all times? Is work stuff packed away each afternoon/friday?

    I see so many images of people with a laptop on their dining table saying how they love being able to work from home… guys get a separate keyboard and mouse. get a monitor. if not a monitor at least a laptop stand to raise it up to monitor height. get a footrest. get a good chair or specific padding for height and back support.

    I know not everyone has the luxury of one study spare for each person, but if you aren’t talking a lot then sharing works well. If you can’t share a room then seriously plan out the workstations, and agree on what state they are left in at the end of a work day and work week.
    We had three people at a dining table for a month while getting desks arranged, and at the end of every day we moved all the cables and monitors to one side.

  223. JK*

    I have a co-worker who lives with someone that also works from home. Its clear they are in the same room. Its sometimes impossible to communicate with him, because you can hear his SO on one of her calls.

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